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August 29, 2011

Entrepreneurial Focus Key To Job Creation

ACS Task Force: Recommendations could lead to 100,000 new jobs in 20 years

Rudy M. Baum

Francisco (left)
and Whitesides
(right) hold a
press conference at
the ACS national
meeting in Denver. Peter Cutts
Francisco (left) and Whitesides (right) hold a press conference at the ACS national meeting in Denver.
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As many as 100,000 new jobs for chemists could be created in the next 20 years if the recommendations of an ACS Presidential Task Force on Innovation in the Chemical Enterprise are carried out, according to task force chair George Whitesides, a chemistry professor at Harvard University.

Whitesides spoke at a press conference held in conjunction with the ACS national meeting in Denver. The task force’s final report, “Innovation, Chemistry, and Jobs,” was released at the meeting. Joining Whitesides at the press conference were Joseph S. Francisco, who as ACS president in 2010 organized the task force, and task force members Robert H. Grubbs, a chemistry professor at California Institute of Technology, and Pat N. Confalone, vice president, global R&D, DuPont Crop Protection.

“This subject is one that everyone on the task force feels passionately about,” Whitesides said. “Creating new and better jobs is the most important challenge facing the U.S. today.” Because many world problems such as climate change, renewable energy sources, and sustainability require chemical innovation for their solution, Whitesides pointed out, it’s not clear why those new jobs are not being created. “ACS is prepared to address this question,” he said.

The task force focused on “job growth through entrepreneurial activity and creation of small businesses,” Francisco said. The task force report contains four fundamental recommendations, he pointed out.

  • ACS should develop a single organizational unit—a kind of “technological farmers’ market”—offering affordable (or free) help to entrepreneurs.
  • ACS should increase advocacy of policies at the federal and state level to improve the business environment for entrepreneurs and startup companies.
  • ACS should work with academic institutions and other relevant organizations to promote awareness of career pathways and educational opportunities that involve or include entrepreneurship.
  • ACS should increase public awareness of the value of early-stage entrepreneurship in the chemical enterprise.

All of the report’s recommendations are “actionable,” Francisco noted. “We are, in fact, already putting some of them into action.”  The report and its extensive appendices are available at www.acs.org/CreatingJobs.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
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