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Turning Teaching Toward L.A.'s Global Future

May 21, 1996

Teachers should globalize their curriculum to help prepare Los Angeles students for the future, educators were told by Jack Kyser, chief economist with the Economic Development Corp. of Los Angeles County. The speech was given in March at the Greater Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

What about the future for international trade activity in the Los Angeles area?

It's very bright, because:

The region is a major international business center--probably the most international of all U.S. cities. And our economy is growing.

We have a diverse economic base, and many of our basic industries have very good growth prospects in international markets, for both goods and services. For example, Hollywood has just scratched the surface of the international market.

Our diverse population provides ready-made business linkages abroad.

And we are adding to our trade facilities. Expansions are underway at both ports; there is the Alameda Corridor project, which can be leveraged to assist in economic development, and there is a new master plan being developed for [Los Angeles International Airport].

So we should see continued strong job gains in international trade. But there is much competition for this activity along the West Coast. The ports of Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma are planning expansions, and are also quick to point out the shortcomings of local ports.

San Diego is making noise about developing [its] ports, as are some ports in Mexico.

And there are western airports, which are looking hungrily at LAX's cargo activity.


What skills or training does somebody need to participate in trade?

A variety of skills are required.

You need a foreign language capability, but the question is, which one?

Not only do you need to speak the language but also to read and write well in it.

You need a good understanding of foreign business practices and social customs. All people do not interact like we do, and many countries have relationship-based economies.

You also need to have an overall knowledge of business trends and international trade issues.

And you need good writing skills.

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