"It Ain't Just About You and Your Damn Passion": Quotes, Ideas and Solutions From Yesterday's Job Creation Panel

Yesterday's job creation panel discussion put the spotlight on what Tom Brokaw called "the most critical grassroots issue in America today." In an effort to shift the narrative away from a fatalistic acceptance of the jobs crisis, the panelists focused on what is working when it comes to job creation. As the Rockefeller Foundation's Judith Rodin put it, "The innovative spirit of American communities is alive and well."
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Here are some of the great quotes that came out of yesterday's panel on job creation and what is working.

"We're here to talk about, I believe, the most critical grassroots issue in America today. It's not just how you find a job, and get enough jobs to cover the people who don't have them, but how we prepare this country for the future and restore a sense of confidence... Having a job is not just about economic security. It's also about emotional and cultural security for this country." ~ Tom Brokaw, panel moderator and former NBC Nightly News anchor

"Ladies and gentlemen, we want to tell you that we believe in the entrepreneurial spirit of the American population. So we're offering a $1 million prize for the best scalable ideas for how to grow small business, particularly to hire young people. We're going to do this competition virally; watch for us on The Huffington Post and Twitter. We really think that those ideas are out there. We've used prizes before to galvanize incredibly great ideas, and then we're going to take them to scale." ~ Judith Rodin, CEO of the Rockefeller Foundation

"Whenever I talk to young people, I always talk to them about finding something that they care enough about that they can build the energy behind it to acquire the skills they need. To follow that passion down the road toward something which is going to be great for them. Because it'll lead to the education, the right decisions, and the right mistakes, to get them to the right answers in the end." ~ Allen Blue, co-founder of LinkedIn

"Every baby boom generation person who has to give a college commencement talk uses the phrase 'follow your passion.' But that's why no one has written a book calling us the greatest generation. The second point is to not just follow your passion, but something larger than yourself. It ain't just about you and your damn passion. I remember talking exactly a year ago right now to Steve Jobs, who was very ill, and I asked him that question: He said, 'Yeah, we're always talking about following your passion. But we're all part of a flow of history,' he said. 'And we take things out of that flow that other people have created. And that's why our lives are so great. So you've got to put something back into the flow of history that's going to help your community, help other people, so that 20, 30, 40 years from now, even if it's a small pebble you put back in, people will say, this person didn't just have a passion, he cared about making something that other people could benefit from.'" ~ Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute

"We've been natural athletes as a country at starting companies, and they become big, and I'll just remind people that Microsoft was co-founded by a guy named Bill Gates, who was one person who had an idea and built a business around it. All of the businesses you see in America were built by teams of people who saw something other people didn't see. And we've become, I guess we've expected it to just happen, but the reality is the rest of the world is figuring out how to build companies, and they've looked to the United States, and we've got to step our game up in a big way." ~ Scott Case, CEO of Startup America

"I'll tell you what our biggest challenge is: we are trying to -- and we have been fighting now for a year -- to get these people's skills matched with job opportunities." ..."We're starting in the first grade to introduce kids to occupations. What does a weatherman do?... I happen to believe the good Lord created all of us to do certain things... As kids get older, they begin to find their passion." ~ John Kasich, Governor of Ohio

"The innovative spirit of American communities is alive and well all across this country, and we should be very, very proud of it. It's working." ~ Judith Rodin, CEO of the Rockefeller Foundation

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