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Hey Companies, Start Hiring; Three Generations Under One Roof; The Rising Cost of College; Tackling a Healthy Lifestyle

Aired February 4, 2012 - 09:30   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, HOST: When will companies stop sitting on their cash and start hiring?

Good morning, everyone. I'm Christine Romans.

Coming up on YOUR BOTTOM LINE, we get to the bottom of the disconnect between workers who are desperate for a job and companies who say they can't find quality workers to hire.

Also, moms and dads, their kids and grandkids are increasingly living together under the same roof. The trend is exploding.

Also exploding, college tuition. We'll talk innovative ways to keep tuition prices down.

And if you love the '85 Bears, like I do, or the Super Bowl, like my husband does, don't touch that dial. A special treat for you is ahead.

Let's begin, though, with the bid to revive "Made in the USA." It's not just about national pride. Manufacturing in this country means jobs for Americans on the assembly line, designing the products, running the plants.

President Obama has a Jobs and Competitiveness Council, and two of its most prominent members are with us this morning. Steve Case is, among many things, the COE of Revolution. And Darlene Miller, the CEO of Permac Industries. Thank you, both of you, for joining us this morning.

You know, Steve, you've employed tens of thousands of people. I mean, you say entrepreneurship and - and innovation will create the next generation of jobs, but what about the jobs we need today?

STEVE CASE, CEO, REVOLUTION: Well, obviously a lot of facets to it, but the products we are particularly focused on is entrepreneurship, both on the Jobs Council and chairing an initiative called the Start Up America Partnership. And the reason it's so important, if you look at the history of America, it really is a history of entrepreneurship. The reason we're the leading economy in the world is the work of (INAUDIBLE), not just companies but entire new industries that have really propelled us into the lead.

So we need to, as a nation, continue to focus on that and really double down on our commitment to entrepreneurs, because they are the ones that create innovative companies. And there's a lot of focus on technology company this week, Facebook for example, but high growth companies really cut across all the spectrum and services and manufacturing, all regions around the nation.

ROMANS: Steve, I want you to listen to this exchange the president had this week with a woman named Jennifer Wedel from Texas.


JENNIFER WEDEL, FORT WORTH, TEXAS: My husband has an engineering degree with over 10 years of experience, and he was laid off three years ago and has yet to find a permanent job in his field.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What industry tells me is that they don't have enough highly skilled engineers.


ROMANS: So here's the trouble. We talk about science, technology, engineering, math. Here's a guy who's a semiconductor engineer, Steve, who can't find a job, and that's kind of a narrative that you hear from people a lot. Talk about creating jobs, the business of telling the president how to help make that happen, but people are still pretty frustrated.

CASE: Absolutely they're very frustrated. There is, as you say, a little bit of a disconnect. There are jobs that are available, but generally they have requirements in terms of engineering skills that most people don't have, which is why focusing our schools back on the STEM topic, as you - as you talked about, is so critically important if we're going to win this global battle around talent.

But there are examples, apparently, like this guy, who does have has the right skills and hasn't really quite, you know, connected and we needed to do a better job of playing that matchmaker role.

But ultimately it's not just relying on the big companies. Historically, if you want to work for a large company, you kind of could imagine working there for your entire career. That's less common these days. People tend to move around industries, move around companies, sometimes move around cities. So it's harder to stay connected to the right kind of infrastructure and around entrepreneurship.

That's one of the reasons why we started the Start Up America Partnership, to be a way that entrepreneurs can help find the talent they need to drive their companies and how talented people can get plugged in to one of these high growth company opportunities.

ROMANS: And, you know, Darlene, it's interesting because that woman, Jennifer, you know, the reason why they can't leave Dallas/Ft. Worth, where they are, to find a job somewhere else in the country is because they have a custody agreement. That means one of the parents has to be there.

And that's a fact of life for many American workers. You might have the skills, but you're not necessarily in that region. And you actually say, you know, the president wants companies like yours to manufacture in the United States, and you do. You have 68 positions to fill, 68 positions, but you can't find - you can't fill them. Why?

DARLENE MILLER, PRESIDENT & CEO, PERMAC INDUSTRIES: Well, because our industry has become very high tech, and so we need people with the skill sets to render very expensive, high tech equipment, and they really have to have a lot of math. As Steve was mentioning, the STEM is just so critical in the training, and we no longer have positions where we can just take someone off the street and train them because it's so involved in the technology.

So I'm really proud to say, as part of the president's council, I've helped develop a program called Right Skills Now, which is being implemented right now in Minnesota and in Nevada, which is training beginning CNC machinists for our industry.

ROMANS: So you're actually helping train the people to fill the jobs that you need. I mean, what responsibility do companies have to help create these jobs and not just ask for lower taxes or fewer regulations or, you know, the workers up their skills?

MILLER: Well, I think there's a little bit of a disconnect between what the schools and - technical schools and colleges might think that we as businesses need. So it's really imperative that businesses owners get involved and work together to really explain our needs so that when these people graduate, they have a job to go into that's a real job.

ROMANS: All right. Steve Case, Darlene Miller, nice to meet both of you. Both of you have the president's ear on job creation, so we wanted to get kind of your take on what it's going to take the companies to start hiring on a much bigger scale and what kind of workers in this country to fill those jobs.

Thanks to both of you. Have a nice weekend.

CASE: Thank you.

MILLER: Thank you.

Most parents or in-laws visit for the weekend, maybe they visit for a holiday, but a new trend has a growing number of people moving in for good. We'll explain, next.


ROMANS: For most of us, it's the biggest investment we'll ever make - our house, and for the past 18 months, home prices have basically been drifting down. Home sales are picking up, but the prices aren't.

Since the bubble burst, we are now at new lows for home prices. The Case-Shiller Home Price Index shows that mid-2003 is where we are now for home prices. Record low mortgage rates, and still the housing market is a mess.

The president says the government has to do more.


OBAMA: Now, I've been saying that this is a make or break moment for the middle class, and this housing crisis struck right at the heart of what it means to be middle class in America, our homes.


ROMANS: He challenged Congress to let homeowners who are underwater and have credit scores as low as 580 refinance, but House Speaker John Boehner countered, it's time for the government to get out of the way of the housing debacle.

The government's home modification plan already, well that's helped about a quarter of the people it was meant to, about 910,000 homeowners. It was designed to help four million.

Same for the previous refinancing plan. It was designed to help millions of Americans. Instead, 962,000 homeowners were helped.

All the news in housing, frankly, has been bad, right? But there's a fascinating trend developing in housing that is putting money back in families' pockets, and it's putting roofers, construction crews and contractors back to work.


ROMANS (voice-over): Meet the Loefflers.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm the grandmother and great-grandmother.

ROMANS: Three generations, plus one dog living under one roof. Make that four generations when granddaughter Ella visits.

S. LOEFFLER: I really value family. It means a lot to me to have everybody together a lot.

ROMANS (on camera): For the first time in decades, more generations are moving in together, reversing a trend that's been in place since World War II. It's about culture, it's about convenience, it's about money.

(voice-over): The trend has grown 30 percent over the past decade, fueled by immigration, people living longer, and, more recently, job losses and foreclosures.

DON DYRNESS, SPECTRUM CONSTRUCTION: We have a couple of bedrooms upstairs.

ROMANS (voice-over): New Jersey builder Don Dyrness renovates single family homes to accommodate more than one generation.

(on camera): When you look at what's been happening in the housing market, you can see that this is an area in housing that is showing growth. No question. Are you seeing that in your business?

DYRNESS: Absolutely. We've been doing multi-gen houses for 20- something years. (INAUDIBLE) one a year, two a year, zero, and then in 2009, it's grown to three to five projects per year.

ROMANS (voice-over): One of those projects, building an addition for the Loefflers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the kitchen.

I could have never lived by myself. I could have never afforded it. I never - I couldn't, you know?

S. LOEFFLER: For her, it was definitely economic. But, for us, I think it was peace of mind, having her here.

ROMANS: Peace of mind also meant a new social dynamic to keep the peace.

S. LOEFFLER: Mom is sensitive to our family dynamics, too.

T. LOEFFLER: It was important for us to keep her room separate. I mean, she's an integrated part of the house, but, you know, she could make it separate. And she has a separate entrance on to the back deck.

So she - I think - hopefully she feels like hey, it is separate. I think those are the important things.

ROMANS: But change comes with unexpected perks, too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a washer and dryer right here.

M. LOEFFLER: Every couple of days, I bring my laundry down, drop it off, and when o come home from work it's all pressed and good to go.


ROMANS: Isn't that awesome? You know, it used to be commonplace to grow up with your grandparents living with you, maybe an aunt or cousins.

I'm joined now by psychotherapist Robi Ludwig, and it's so - it's so amazing. I mean, my mother grew up with her grandparents living with her, and this was after World War II. We started moving away from this trend, but it's coming back and it comes with real challenges for families, especially families who are now used to having their own house, more cars than they can drive. Three cars - we went to McMansions, and now we're going the other direction.

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Yes. Right. And also, culturally, our self-esteem was based on independence, and so now we're seeing the value of extended family and how each member of the family really can have something to offer. So, in many ways, this can be a beautiful thing.

ROMANS: The trend has really accelerated over the past couple of years. I mean, I could get real deep and say people really got scarred. They learned that money isn't the most important thing.

LUDWIG: Right.

ROMANS: They want to be together. But also, money is the big reason to do it.

You know, the average cost for a nursing home for one year is $79,000 a year. If mom moves in with you and you do a little bit of a renovation, that's a good investment.

LUDWIG: Right. And then there's the elder care and child care, because sometimes it's the grandparent who's healthy and taking care of the grandkids. And so you have a nice, cultural moment there where the grandkids get to have a close relationship with their grandparents, and also less loneliness.

ROMANS: You have to talk to each other.


ROMANS: You have to really talk to each other because - and know what the expectations are.

LUDWIG: I think so.

ROMANS: Like the laundry. That was an added perk for him.

LUDWIG: Right.

ROMANS: But everyone has to have a set of rules and know what they're - what bills they're going pay, what their job's going to be.

LUDWIG: Right. And the truth of the matter is, with families, there's the potential for lots of miscommunication and conflict. And also, if you had a conflicted relationship with your family, living together in this new way, it doesn't make the conflict go away.

So I love the idea of creating a contract, something that's black and white, where people can know, OK, who's handling the mortgage? Who's doing the cooking? Who's doing the child care and who's doing the elder care? So you have something to refer back to.

ROMANS: Robi Ludwig, thank you so much.

LUDWIG: Thank you.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

You know, in my view, if this trend continues, costs are exploding for elder care, for daycare for children. Living together can ease that. It also means consolidating heating and mortgage expenses, all smart ways to deal with an economy that's increasingly difficult for the middle class.

Here's the bottom line if you're considering a multigenerational living arrangement. Decide early who will be paying for the construction, if there's a renovation, and who will be paying which monthly bills. In general, experts say it's best to use the elder person's money first.

Set expectations and establish ground rules. And everyone who lives in the house has to know what their job and role is. No surprises.

And respect each other's privacy. Just because you're sharing a roof doesn't mean you should be sharing every single moment with one another.

Most importantly, before a renovation, make sure you know your zoning rules and talk to your accountant about the tax implications of merging households.

All right, the cost of a four-year college, it's a small fortune. But why does it have to be so expensive? And is it time just to redo the model? We'll put that question to the universities themselves.

That's next on YOUR BOTTOM LINE.


ROMANS: Now, more than ever, a college degree is vital to getting one of the few jobs available. The problem is, college is expensive, very expensive. This generation has seen the median family income rise only 15 percent while the cost of college is up more than 130 percent. And student loans are adding a postgraduate financial burden.

President Obama touched on the cost of college issue in his State of the Union address, and he listed help from a dozen college presidents and higher education leaders from across the country to come up with some answers. We're happy to have the three of them with us this morning.

Nancy Zimpher is a chancellor of the State University System of New York. King Alexander is the president of California State University, Long Beach. And Tom Snyder is the president of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana. Welcome, all of you.

You know, President Obama, he's not holding back when he says he wants colleges to - to change the cost structure. Listen.


OBAMA: We are putting colleges on notice. You can't keep - you can't assume that you'll just jack up tuition every single year. If you can't stop tuition from going up, then the funding you get from taxpayers each year will go down.

We should push colleges to do better. we should hold them accountable if they don't.


ROMANS: I'm telling you, students and parents of prospective students like to hear that.

Nancy, you lead the largest - the largest higher education system in the country.


ROMANS: So, what does this mean? Colleges on notice, what does that mean?

ZIMPHER: Well, I think we're all pleased that President Obama is taking this issue on because it is a partnership between the investment of a state and the cost to a student and to the student's family. And, particularly, we dealt with this last year in New York. Governor Cuomo put a rational tuition in place which protects the ceiling for the next five years, makes the increases very fair and minimal, makes sure that students can predict how much the cost of college will be over a long period of time, and prioritizes students in need as the first students to close that financial gap.

So I think that's a serious approach, one that we're using, and I think the country could embrace. And I'm glad the president is - is talking about it.

ROMANS: You know, King out there in California, you know, students have a lot of choices, really, quite frankly. I mean, they can do a state school, they can do a private school, they can do a community college, and a lot of them are deciding - making these decisions now based on money, not based on their - what they're interested in, their aptitude, or what they think their career path will be.

In some cases a lot of this is kids are looking so hard to find the money to go to school, but the tuitions just keep going up. That can't go on forever, can it?

KING ALEXANDER, PRESIDENT, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, LONG BEACH: Well, I think - first of all, I'd like to also commend the president for raising two very important issues, and one is that there really are good and bad players in higher education with regard to tuition.

And there are institution - over 100 institutions charging $50,000 or more, but there are very affordable institutions, like the California State University and others in Florida and North Carolina, that have done an excellent job keeping their prices well below the national average, and with very limited student loan debt upon graduation.

The second point, I think, is also it's not just the - putting the colleges and universities on notice but it's putting state legislatures on notice. And the president mentioned that a little bit earlier in his speech, and they're working on procedures and policies such as maintenance of effort provisions that also hold state legislatures accountable, because that's the biggest source of tuition increase the country is what the - how the states are abandoning their commitment to higher education.

ROMANS: But they -

ALEXANDER: It is 50 percent below where it was in 1980.

ROMANS: But they would say - they would also say that the cost of the thing you're delivering has been going up, too. I mean, you can find a way to cover the cost, but the tuition keeps rising and the cost per unit of what you're delivering has been going up, hasn't it?

ALEXANDER: Well, it has in many institutions, and some institutions spend more than any institutions in the world. But, however, on many campuses, many large campuses like - like ours, our cost per student hasn't changed that dramatically in the last 20 - 15 to 20 years.

ROMANS: It's where the money is coming. The burden is going on the student more to pay for it.

ALEXANDER: Correct, correct.

ROMANS: All right. I want to talk about community colleges because, Tom, you know, we've talked a lot about community colleges. I'm a strong proponent of community colleges, even just starting in community colleges and moving on to a state school later. And the president has talked a lot about the importance of a community college education and making that a viable pathway for people.

But there still is kind of this pecking order, if you will, among people who are like, oh, I want to go to a private school. How do you make community colleges a viable and really attractive choice for people?

THOMAS SNYDER, PRESIDENT, IVY TECH COMMUNITY COLLEGE: Well, I think today there really is this final four syndrome where people are under the pressure that they must go to a unique residential experience. In reality, unless you're going to be a Supreme Court justice and go to Yale, you can make a great choice just by going to your community college.

Half the nurses in the country come from community colleges. They finish with no debt, $10,000 for the cost, and have a great jobs. So it's a terrific option.

ROMANS: Nancy, King, Tom, thank you everybody for joining us. Have a great weekend.

All right, remember the Super Bowl Shuffle, that music video from the '85 Bears still stuck in the minds of so many football fans? One prominent member of that team is now on a mission, and he's going to tell us about it next on YOUR BOTTOM LINE.


ROMANS: American kids do not always eat healthy foods, and it shows. Nearly one in three children in the U.S. are overweight or obese, and that obesity rate has tripled in the past three decades.

So, on this Super Bowl weekend, we want to take you to Chicago where a member of Bears football royalty is making it his mission to get kids back on the right track.


OTIS WILSON, FOUNDER, 55 ALIVE: We always say in the locker room, the more you can do, the more valuable you are to the team.

ROMANS (voice-over): Otis Wilson is no longer tackling opponents, he's tackling a childhood epidemic.

WILSON: Bring them all the way up. There you go.

ROMANS: As a Chicago Bears linebacker, he wore the number 55, and today his after school program, 55 Alive, gets children in Chicago moving and eating right.

WILSON: And I want to bring young people's bodies alive.

What's up, gang?

ROMANS: Wilson is football royalty. You know, Chicago Bears, '85, Super Bowl Shuffle?

WILSON: I mean, we have so many great athletes, and we were just having so much fun. That was the best time in the world, and we just - we just had fun. It was like kids in a candy store.

ROMANS: An interesting metaphor from a guy who's trying to reverse a staggering statistic. In Chicago, the percentage of obese children is two times the national average. This, according to the Department of Public Health.

WILSON: The whole thing is to get them to understand, if you're going go out there and play, whatever you play, you have to fuel the body.

ROMANS: Wilson says seven-year-old Tabitha was barely able to run when she joined the program, and now -

TABITHA, 7 YEARS OLD: It's fun, and it gives me a good workout. But - so when I go home I feel great.

WILSON: Don't bend your knees.

ROMANS: Wilson teaches living well and leadership.

WILSON: That's something that we work on every day and that we enforce that, because a lot of it - it is unfortunate to say, they don't get it at home. You know, they - they see what they see, and it's sometimes not good.

Every phase of their lives, you have to make a difference in.

ROMANS: Ciera came here four years ago to learn to move, but what she got was so much more. This little girl also learned about confidence.

CIERA, 11 YEARS OLD: He shows like toughness and determination, like if he wants to reach a goal, he will reach it and nobody will stop him. And that's - that's like my motivation, like when I'm playing sports and doing tests and stuff like that.

WILSON: As you hear a lot of athletes say, well, I'm not a role model. But I understand what they're talking about, because role models should be people that's in your household that you come in contact with every day.

ROMANS: Three hundred kids come through here a year, and Wilson says he considers each one like one of his own.

WILSON: These are my babies now. That's why I tell these young kids today, just because you don't have a - you don't see a whole lot in your community don't mean that that's what you have to settle for. As long as they're in this building and I'm with them every - 365 days a year, you know, we just keep enforcing it.

I know that I'm making a difference.


ROMANS: Wow. What a great guy.

Have a great Super Bowl weekend, everyone. Let's keep talking about childhood obesity, finding a job, whether America is on the right path.

Let's keep talking about it online. You can find me on Facebook and Twitter. I'm @ChristineRomans, and the show handle is @CNNBottomLine.

Back now to "CNN SATURDAY" for the latest headlines. Thanks for spending your morning with us. Have a great weekend.