Friday Roundup: Workforce changes, high marks for UW, ‘CAN Do’ for work, optimistic economists

There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

Seattle Times: UW gets high marks for commercializing research

The University of Washington received high marks this week in a study that ranks U.S. universities’ commercialization efforts. 

UW ranked No. 7 on the list from economic think tank Milken Institute, up from No. 24 in 2006, when the study was first released.

Star Tribune: People are checking out of the workforce at growing rates, economist says

Minnesota, which has a higher percentage of people working than the nation as a whole, is the second-lowest state for labor inactivity. Just under 7 percent of the state’s prime working-age men were no longer trying to work. Only Iowa was better, at 6 percent.

But the problem continues to grow in the state, and the Center of the American Experiment is launching a multiyear project called “Great Jobs without a Four-Year Degree” that is designed in part to get more people working. The think tank’s president, John Hinderaker, called it “the most important project they’ve ever done.”

The program’s goal is to get younger Minnesotans aware of post-high school opportunities outside of enrolling in a four-year ­college. This includes raising awareness for apprenticeships, associate’s degrees, occupational certificates, job training in the military and more.

 Seattle Times: Survey of economists finds optimism about growth prospects

Business economists are generally optimistic about the U.S. economy with most expecting stronger growth than last year’s poor performance.

Economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics also expect improved or unchanged sales and profits at their companies in the second quarter, with most reporting no changes in hiring or investment in response to policy changes expected after the November election.

American Enterprise Institute: The CAN DO of work

Given my interest in education, skills development, civil society, decentralization, and culture—that is, in issues that can complement the traditional economic analysis of employment—I’m now thinking about our work problems in five categories. I call it “CAN DO.” It’s an acronym for Culture, Access, Necessity, Desire, and Openings. It moves to the front of the line two elements that I believe are too often pushed to the side. And, in combination, the five are meant to convey a sense of the possible if we take all of the pieces seriously.

…A ton of smart work is currently going in to figuring out—via groups like the National Skills Coalition—how we re-orient high school and post-secondary to prepare students for good current and future jobs and how to “re-skill” adults who’ve lost jobs. Progress is being made: There’s exciting activity in career-and-technical-education schools, apprenticeships, community-college reform, work-site training, and more. But one of my big lessons-learned is that as our economy evolves and new jobs require more specialized skills, we can’t assume that the skids are greased for matching human capital and open positions.

The Daily News: Income Tax Again?

If you want to know what the future of Washington state tax policy will be look no further than the city of Seattle or current state budget negotiations.

In a recent candidate forum, current Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and former Seattle Mayor (now candidate for mayor again) Mike McGinn both advocated for an income tax. House Democrats and Gov. Inslee are advocating for a new capital gains tax as part of the upcoming budget, which in the past was ruled unconstitutional since it’s considered a tax on income…

City of Seattle efforts to establish a city income tax are seen by man, including us, as the pathway to a statewide income tax.