Gathering Storm Approaching Category 5, Report Warns

Despite attempts to improve the United State’s position in the global economy, the nation has, over the last five years, worsened its ability to compete for quality jobs.  Further, if the United States does not implement a sustained investment in education and basic research soon, the nation will continue on its downward spiral, according to a follow up report to highly-regarded Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future.

The new report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5, warns that the nation has not improved despite the warnings and recommendations made since the original congressionally-commissioned report was released in 2005.

“The Gathering Storm is looking ominously like a Category 5,” according to the report, “and, as the  nation has so vividly observed, rebuilding from such an event is far more difficult  than preparing in advance to withstand it.”

The report does praise Congress for passing the America COMPETES Act and implementing several funding initiatives to support the improvement of K-12 and STEM education, but warns that funding for American COMPETES is scheduled to expire in Fiscal Year 2010 and stimulus funding for education is nearly depleted amidst the nation’s growing debt.

“The Gathering Storm effort once again finds itself at a tipping point,” said Norman R. Augustine, coauthor of a new report and chair  of the original Gathering Storm committee. “Addressing America’s competitiveness challenge is an undertaking that will require many years, if not decades.”

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