Bill Clinton: Global Initiative Will Aid US Unemployed

Sunday, 19 Sep 2010 02:13 PM


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Former President Bill Clinton’s campaign against poverty in poor countries is making room this year for programs to aid unemployed Americans.

The Clinton Global Initiative, a forum to connect corporate donors with nonprofit groups, will “try to spend more time on the domestic needs,” Clinton said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. With the nation’s unemployment rate at 9.6 percent, U.S. workers need help “with both jobs and with training,” he said.

The biggest problem that stands in the way of boosting employment is a “skills mismatch” in the U.S. economy, Clinton said. This means “the jobs that are being opened don’t have qualified people applying for them,” he said. If job-specific training were provided to 5 million unemployed workers, the jobless rate would fall to around 7 percent, Clinton said.

Clinton and his wife, Hillary, secretary of State, will speak Tuesday at the initiative’s annual meeting, which aims to connect corporate donors with nonprofit groups, aid organizations, and others involved in helping to alleviate poverty in the developing world.

It has focused its efforts on four areas: education, economic empowerment, global health and environment and energy. The initiative claims to have won 1,700 “commitments” from partners since it was founded in 2005, according to its website. They range from a U.S. physician who collects serviceable used medical equipment from the United States and ships it to the developing world, to a plan by Merck & Co., the U.S. pharmaceutical firm to partner with Becton, Dickinson & Co., a maker of disposable hypodermic needles, to distribute 3 million doses of a vaccine against cervical cancer.

The initiative will create some “interesting commitments” that affect America, such as how to create jobs in clean energy in the United States without involvement from the government, Clinton said Sunday on CBS' “Face the Nation.” Terry McAuliffe, chairman of GreenTech Automotive Inc. and the former head of the Democratic National Committee, is bringing two electric cars to the initiative, Clinton said.

Clinton also said the United States needs a strategy to revive the middle class, in part by creating jobs in small business, manufacturing and clean energy. On a global basis, Clinton’s initiative will attempt to help girls and women get a fair share of education and participate in the revival of the economies of their countries, Clinton said.

The Clinton program will take place as world leaders, including President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet in New York for the United Nations General Assembly session to review the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals, a 15-year plan to halve poverty across the world by 2015.

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