COMMENTARY: JOB CREATION THROUGH INNOVATION
The US has long been the economic leader of the world. In a large part it was due to the blessing of an abundant supply of natural resources. Thus, it only made sense that we would take the lead in converting those natural resources into goods and products. However, the world is ever changing. The location of a processing center is no longer necessary to be within a limited proximity to its supply source. Also, as the wealth of a nation increases so does the resistance to take or perform low-paying jobs. For example, in the chemical industry since 2008 nearly 25,000 jobs, which include higher paying jobs in research and development (R&D), have been lost. Higher labor costs, shrinking margins, and a growing aversion to the risks in longer term R&D appear to play significant roles. Unlike any previous time in the history of chemistry innovation, entrepreneurs and small businesses may now hold the key to limiting the losses in jobs, in generating new job opportunities for chemists in the US, and in helping chemistry solve the problems faced by society. It is clear that the US has a great innovative capability. However, infrastructure changes do need to occur to unleash this creative force. The American Chemical Society (ACS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have recognized the infrastructural problems and are beginning to address them. These efforts will be discussed in this article.
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