Every two years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists projections of the 30 fastest growing careers. The projections show that the total number of people employed in the United States will increase 10 percent — roughly 15 million — by 2016. However, some types of jobs will grow at a much faster rate during that period.
The careers on the list range from the obvious health care assistant to the not-so-obvious gaming officer. While the list cannot predict the future of our economy, it’s interesting nonetheless. As we attempt to climb out of the Great Recession, growing the number of jobs will be key to improving the overall health of our economy.
As I am writing, the Greater Philadelphia region’s unemployment rate stands at 8.7 percent. The city of Philadelphia’s rate is 10.5 percent. Pennsylvania as a whole fares better at 7.6 percent, and the U.S. is at 9.1 percent.
Today, stories about unemployment, jobs and our economy are the most commonly featured subject in print and video. As someone who runs the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, I can tell you that despite the endless cycle of bad news, there are numerous efforts under way by the business community to help citizens, companies and entrepreneurs grow and prosper.
One such program, the Chamber’s Supplier Network Series, connects small-business owners and executives with the region’s foremost procurement officers. By enhancing their marketability and developing their business strategies, participating companies are now able to compete for contracts with the region’s larger companies. The educational and networking series is seeing tangible results as more and more small companies — including woman-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-owned — are gaining direct business connection to the procurement executives and learning the secrets of securing contracts with large regional companies and government agencies.
To help connect young people with jobs, the chamber along with TD Bank and WorkReady Philadelphia sponsors paid internships for teens living in Philadelphia and Chester. In its fifth year, the initiative encourages companies of all sizes to change the life of a young person by providing them a job. Since 2006, almost 5,000 students have taken part in this important program.
– Rob Wonderling is president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. His column appears the second Wednesday of each month.
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