Business and Government Do Not Have to Hate Each Other
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The relationship between the business world and government has always been scrutinized. Largely this is understandable. Issues like cronyism, corruption and regulation has complicated the publics view of how these spheres can work together. And with good reason, I should not get a contract simply because my brother’s, mother’s cousin’s boyfriend works in the local municipality. Further, over-burdensome regulations abound across this country.
Regardless of the dangers, the lines between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors have become less defined and more transitory than ever. This is not always a bad thing. There are instances where the private sector can achieves things in a more efficient manner than the government. Further, sometimes partnerships can reduce the burden for the taxpayer and also be the best, market-based solution for businesses.
Local, state, and federal governments are increasingly partnering with nonprofit and private institutions to help them carry out vital services while reducing costs and increasing efficiency. And it’s working.
Toni Preckwinkle, the County Board President of Cook County, Illinois, demonstrated in the last year just how effective such partnerships can be. By working with Chicago’s city government, community development agencies, businesses, and community colleges, the county streamlined its current system of providing workforce training and job placement.
President Preckwinkle and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel overhauled 100 city and county agencies, which were spending $300 million dollars per year in job training, with a centralized Chicagoland agency to partner with local businesses. This merger enabled businesses to more easily find and hire workers to fit their specific needs, resulting in the creation of 1,600 private sector jobs in 2011. It’s also expected to save the county government $50 million over the next several years.
This is not the only example, nor is it a partisan issue.
Governments have important work to do, but they don’t have to work alone. By partnering with other local entities, private businesses, or nonprofit organizations, they can reduce the costs to taxpayers while maintaining essential services that Americans expect and rely on.