Rep. Khanna on keeping American tech jobs from moving overseas


WELCOME BACK. THE LAST PERSON YOU EXPECT TO FIGHT FOR TECH JOBS IS A CONGRESSMAN REPRESENTING SILICON VALLEY BUT THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT OUR FRIEND FROM CALIFORNIA IS DOING. NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT IT, BUT ACTUALLY DOING IT, TRULY, POSITIVE AND PRACTICAL. HE IS HERE NOW. CONGRESSMAN, TELL US WHAT YOU BEEN WORKING ON.>>STEVE, WE ARE DOING A PROJECT WITH GOVERNOR REYNOLDS IN JEFFERSON IOWA, WE ARE GOING TO PROVIDE DOZENS OF SCHOLARSHIPS FOR KIDS TO GET ABOUT 18 MONTHS OF TECH TRAINING, IT’S A PARTNERSHIP WITH ACCENTURE, FACEBOOK, OTHER TECH COMPANIES AND AT THE END OF THIS TRAINING THEY WILL HAVE JOBS PAYING BETWEEN 60 AND $70000 AND THEY GET TO STAY IN THE COMMUNITY THEY LOVE IN JEFFERSON IOWA OR WESTERN RURAL IOWA.>>THAT’S SO IMPORTANT THAT POINT YOU JUST MADE BECAUSE EARLIER CHRIS WAS TALKING ABOUT THE WAY SO MUCH OF THE CONVERSATION IN THE LAST FEW DECADES ABOUT THE ECONOMY, CHANGING AND BECOMING TECHNOLOGY ECONOMY IF YOUR FACTORY CLOSES YOU HAVE TO GO WHERE THE JOBS ARE. YOU’RE SHOWING THAT’S NOT NECESSARY. DO YOU THINK THIS COULD GO BEYOND, IS THIS A DEMONSTRATION OF WHAT CAN BE DONE AND HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THIS SPREAD TO OTHER PLACES?>>IT IS, I CALL IT A RIPPLE IN A POND. THERE’S NO REASON WE NEED 200,000 TECH JOBS OUTSOURCED TO PLACES LIKE CHINA OR BRAZIL. WE COULD BE DOING THAT IN THE HEARTLAND. THE REALITY IS EMMA MOST PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO MOVE. THEY LOVE THE COMMUNITY, THEIR CONCERN THEIR CHURCHES ARE DWINDLING, THEIR KIDS ARE HAVING TO LEAVE, WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS ALLOW THEM TO PRESERVE THEIR WAY OF LIFE AND BRING THESE JOBS HERE. THERE ARE COST ADVANTAGES TO HAVE THESE JOBS NOT JUST LOCATED IN THE BAY AREA AND THE TALENT IS EVERYWHERE. FOR THE DELIBERATE WE CAN MAKE THIS WORK.>>THIS PARTICULAR PROJECT HAS REALLY BEEN, YOU’VE DRIVEN IT, GOVERNOR REYNOLDS HAS BEEN INVOLVED, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE POLICY LEVERS OR POLICY CHANGES THAT YOU’D LOOK AT TO TRY TO INSTITUTIONALIZE THIS OR MAKE IT A PART OF THE ECONOMY MOVING FORWARD.>>A FEW THINGS. I THINK WE NEED HIGH-SPEED AFFORDABLE BROADBAND EVERYWHERE. WE CAN DO THAT FOR $40 BILLION, THAT CAN BE A BIPARTISAN INITIATIVE. SECOND WE ALSO HAVE TAX INCENTIVES TO HIRE WORKERS IN THESE COMMUNITIES. QUE QUÉBEC HAS A MODEL SIMILAR TO THAT WHERE THEY ACTUALLY PROVIDE TAX INCENTIVES TO HIRE FOLKS IN THE COMMUNITY. WHY DON’T WE HAVE THAT IN RURAL AMERICA. THIRD, WHEN WE MAKE SURE IF YOU HAVE A FEDERAL CONTRACT, AT LEAST 10% OF YOUR WORKFORCE IS COMING FROM THE RURAL COMMUNITIES OR FROM COMMUNITIES OF COLOR SO THAT EVEN IF 90% IS COMING FROM SILICON VALLEY WERE INCENTIVIZING COMPANIES NOT TO OFFSHORE BUT HIGHER PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY.>>THOSE ARE REALLY SENSIBLE AND PRACTICAL THINGS. I JUST THINK IF WE JUST HAD THAT PRAGMATIC APPROACH TO THESE THINGS, RATHER THAN, IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THE LAST FEW DECADES HAVE BEEN VERY IDEOLOGICALLY DRIVEN. WE’VE GOT THIS LAISSEZ-FAIRE DOGMA THAT HAS DRIVEN POLICY. YOU SAY NO LET’S FOCUS ON THE WORKER AND DO THINGS THAT REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE. ARE YOU TALKING TO THE ADMINISTRATION ABOUT ANY OF THIS?>>I HAVE, ABOUT ACTUALLY TALK TO JARED KUSHNER, THESE ARE PRACTICAL IDEAS TO MAKE SURE THAT AMERICA WINS THE 21st CENTURY. WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT MORE PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY IN A TECHNOLOGY REVOLUTION AND MORE PEOPLE HAVE JOBS WHETHER IT’S ADVANCED MANUFACTURING OR AGFA TECH OR SOFTWARE DESIGN. THE INTERESTING THING HERE IS THAT IT IS NOT IDEOLOGICAL. OBVIOUSLY YOU NEED THE PRIVATE SECTOR. I HEARD YOUR EARLIER SEGMENT, YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, YOU CAN’T JUST HAVE COLLEGES ARE HIGH SCHOOLS WHO HAVE NO CLUE ABOUT WHAT THE PRIVATE SECTOR NEEDS. YOU NEED TO HAVE PRACTICAL PARTNERSHIPS BUT YOU ALSO NEED GOVERNMENT WITH STRATEGIC INVESTMENT AND THAT’S WHAT BUILT AMERICA, GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT WITH COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR.>>I REALLY.

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