A national group focused on U.S. trade policy is helping facilitate a jobs forum in Colorado Springs next month.
The Coalition for a Prosperous America will join local groups like the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp. and the Southern Colorado Economic Forum to host what it is billing as a “Jobs Renaissance.”
Scheduled for 8:30 a.m. June 17 at the ITT building at 1460 Garden of the Gods Road, the event will be a “focused discussion” of economic concerns for the Pikes Peak region, said Michael Stumo, CEO of the organization.
“This won’t be like attending a conference and listening to a very smart person talk,” he said. “This is going to be deliberative. It will be a discussion, there will be a lot of interaction. We’ll use social media.”
The goal of the event is to focus on a few issues that the region is struggling with — economic development and job growth, he said. Then, the group plans to present those concerns to state and congressional delegations for action.
“If you have a group of disparate leaders pushing a single agenda, legislators tend to listen,” he said.
Colorado Springs is the first of four forums CPA is holding this year.
Stumo’s group has organized one other forum like the one scheduled in the Springs in Pittsburgh. There, leaders focused on trade policy, currency manipulation in China and green jobs. After the conference, a working group continued to meet to discuss their goals.
“The Congressional delegation took up their problems with China’s currency manipulation — keeping China’s currency artificially low to create a trade imbalance,” he said. “When legislation came up in Washington about this, they all voted the same way.”
The trade deficit is one of the coalition’s pet projects as well, and Stumo said he hoped trade policy would make the list for the region’s goals.
“It doesn’t have to,” he said. “The forum is really focused on local issues. The local leaders will focus the conversation during the forum. But we believe that this international issue is also a local issue — it affects local business.”
The group was formed in Colorado Springs after a meeting of farmers, ranchers, organized labor and manufacturers — all concerned about unequal global trade policies. It now has 2.5 million members.
Loss of manufacturing jobs is a direct result of the uneven global playing field, said Fred Crowley, a professor of economics at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and one of the organizers of the Southern Colorado Economic Forum. He’ll be speaking at the June event.
“In this city, we’ve lost 65 percent of our manufacturing base,” he said. “And that means we’ve lost all the supporting jobs that go along with them. It’s serious.”
Crowley said manufacturing jobs are premium jobs because they create at least seven other jobs for every manufacturing job. That’s the way to create a healthy economy, he said.
For more information or to register for the event, visit www.jobsrenaissance.com.