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FORT WORTH — The U.S. Conference of Mayors held its annual meeting in Washington D.C. last week, and I was honored to join many of my fellow mayors from North Texas to forge new relationships and learn from each other.
As you can imagine, most of the discussion centered on jobs and strengthening the American workforce.
We heard some interesting perspectives about boosting local economies. We also had the chance to hear about some innovative public/private partnerships that are making serious headway on improving public education around the country. I had the chance to visit with numerous Mayors from across America, and without exception all of them are facing an education crisis. One of the things that jumped out at me was the report that 3.3 million jobs go unfilled due to the lack of skilled workers—especially in the tech fields. Astonishing.
Another overarching theme I took back was the focus on small business development—and more specifically the exporting of small business goods and services. This is something we will pay particularly close attention to as we work to sustain the economic prosperity in Fort Worth that has meant so much to all of us in Fort Worth. It’s important that we look at supporting business efforts that export goods—not jobs—to overseas partners. Jobs are moving back to the U.S. because of these initiatives.
We also talked about efficiency in government. Yes, I know what you’re thinking—oxymoron…The truth of the matter is that there are things we can and must look at to make government more efficient. And, during these times when governments are cutting back is the perfect time to make sure they don’t grow back into red-tape behemoths.
Overall, we made some great contacts and fostered new friendships with many cities across the country—many who face the same challenges we face in North Texas. It was an invaluable experience. I know that the lessons learned and the bridges built will lead to a stronger Fort Worth.
Betsy Price, a Fort Worth native, was elected as the 44th mayor of the City of Fort Worth June 18, 2011. A successful business owner and lifelong public servant, Price uses this forum to ensure transparency and inform residents of issues and programs that affect their daily lives.