Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.
Topic: Penny Pritzker
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September 6, 2013 at 10:32 AM
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker was in Seattle Thursday, a stop on a “listening tour” of a dozen cities or so. As an aide put it, she is meeting with “businesses, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, academics and Department of Commerce employees. In these discussions, Secretary Pritzker is hearing about their priorities, concerns and ideas on how the public and private sectors can work together to strengthen the economy and create American jobs.” Among her stops here was the Year Up training program.
In a brief interview, Pritzker was relentlessly on message. “A common theme I hear is the challenge of finding a skilled workforce, or the mismatch between the jobs available and those open. The need for helping people reskill. Second, are the challenges facing business leaders. There’s growing interest in exporting among companies of all sizes. Removing non-tariff trade obstacles” and the passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
Pritzker, in addition to being a major bundler for the president’s campaigns, is a billionaire heiress and founded PSP Capital Partners, the Parking Spot and Pritzker Realty Group. “The president was clear with me: Be a bridge to the business community, bring the business community view to the economic team,” she told me. “There’s a lack of appreciation of how much the president wants businesses to be successful. I have credibility among my compatriots in the CEO community.”