Metropolitan areas like St. Louis contribute 85 percent of the GDP, labor income, and employment in the country. If metro areas were nations, 42 of the 100 largest economies in the world would be cities. That’s why mayors must speak up (and even blog) on issues like education, work, and poverty that seem beyond our charters.
This weekend, I am going to be talking to mayors from across the nation about how our cities can develop partnerships to increase the size of the qualified labor force and provide the essential elements to expand our middle class.
The skills and knowledge required to be successful in the 21st century world of work are well known. The basic floor of such knowledge is a high school diploma. Without one, a worker will earn just two-thirds what her graduated classmate will earn — and will likely stress almost every other element of our social service network.
I will be looking at good examples of how other cities are working with schools, businesses, higher education, labor, and the federal government to ensure that affordable and quality housing, health care, education, jobs training, and child care are more widely available and I will be telling other mayors about some of our own good local partnerships.