The Road Back
Will Obama’s stimulus pave the way?
Until this month, my friends and family had remained relatively unscathed by the economic melee. That’s not to say incomes didn’t shrink due to slumping sales, or that companies didn’t scale back benefits or pay—that all happened. But nobody close to me had lost his or her job or home.
In recent weeks, that changed. I’ve had friends and family in the automotive, financial and construction industries lose their jobs, and I’ve heard about dozens more “friends of friends” who got laid off and are looking for work while struggling to make mortgage payments. It’s a very different feeling when hard times befall those you love.
I suppose it was bound to strike closer to home at some point. According to the Washington Post, in January, 598,000 people lost their jobs—the most in a single month since 1974. That nudged the unemployment rate from 7.2% to 7.6%. In the past year, U.S. unemployment has risen by about 4.1 million. Based on calls and e-mails I’ve received, I know many of you have been affected, too.
As we near press time, President Obama is seeking approval for an economic stimulus package that will—it is hoped—help get the nation’s economy back on track. It appears a good chunk of the nearly $800 billion will go to schools, roads and healthcare. Quality is at the heart of some of the proposed initiatives: further funding for No Child Left Behind and renovations to schools, the digitization of healthcare records, and infrastructure improvements to repair our nation’s roads and bridges.
But the road back will be a long one, and there are no guarantees. What do you think about the stimulus plan? How do you think it will affect your industry or the quality field? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you’re feeling insecure about your job or career path, there’s no better time to explore alternatives. Some people choose to take classes or go back to school full-time. Others pursue a new certification—something that will further solidify their worth to employers.
New industries are also emerging—areas in which new jobs are springing up rather than drying up. Social responsibility is one such area.
This month, QP features two articles on this subject: In “Back in Circulation,” the author asserts that lean principles help businesses conserve resources, which in turn can be invested in socially responsible practices, benefiting everyone.
“Practice What You Teach,” tells of the journey of one college that did just that, implementing the sustainability-based principles espoused in its classrooms.