President Obama is having a job summit on Thursday, gathering 130 business leaders, mayors and others to help figure out how to get the 15.7 million unemployed people in America back to work.
As someone who was laid off 18 months ago, I have some simple advice for the group: Give job training for every unemployed person and get them back to work by creating a federal program paying for solar power on every rooftop in the country.
Start creating a solar revolution and get rid of unemployment by giving them hammers or whatever tools and training they need to install solar power on government buildings. Then get private homes on solar using this new workforce.
With the national unemployment rate at 10.2% and the underemployment rate at about 17% (these are people like me who work part-time but seek full-time work), a bold move is needed now to get people back to work.
It would be like the Works Progress Adminstration created by the federal government during the Depression to create jobs. American's roads were rebuilt, as were many other projects.
A solar WPA would not only get people working immediately, but it would save money in the long-term by lessening America's reliance on foreign oil, and would lower our greenhouse emissions.
As I've written before, having people build things wouldn't be a long-term solution, but it's a way to get people working for at least a few years. Some of those workers would find careers in solar, an area that should grow for decades and keep plenty of electricians and others employed.
Bob Giloth writes on the Huffington Post that the jobs summit should focus on finding work for low-income people. A solar WPA would do that, but it would also create jobs for middle-income workers to do all of the work that solar companies and any other large company needs: Accounting, sales, public relations, engineering, etc.
While some are calling Thursday's summit a "Deficit Summit" because it could continue giving federal unemployment checks, I think it's time for a bold move by the Obama administration to end the largest unemployment rate since the 1980s.
If getting people back to work is the goal, then giving them a hammer and something to work on is a good start. Just follow the sun.
Advice for Obama job summit: Create a solar WPA