If you look at the statistics, the people who are the leaders of the largest corporations in the country collectively are not the country’s most prolific job creators. In fact, the major corporations are in level or reduced employment mode. The real job creators are the innovators and entrepreneurs whose growing small companies turn into major employers. We have to stop talking about jobs programs and job creators. There is something in these terms that implies that there is a small, existing, elite group of people who serve as the job creators, while everyone else prepares for and competes to work for these people and their jobs. That is a deeply flawed view of what makes the American economy great. America is great because everyone has the potential to be a job creator. What we need are schools creating new generations of job creators, not just workers.
Students must be taught how to get a job. And they also need to be taught how to start a company. The school career program should include a unit where they work in small teams and have to take an idea and build a business around it. Students should work in small teams solving multidisciplinary problems. This model of learning ensures that they master the traditional academic content, but it also does much more than that. As a result of their team problem-solving approach, the students learn a broad assortment of high performance skills such as leadership, researching, communications, teamwork, analysis, validation, responsibility, reliability, innovation, planning, etc. This kind of program gives students the confidence and skills to create their own jobs or companies, and potentially jobs for others as well. Every student coming out of America’s schools has to feel like he or she is a job creator, not just a worker.