Top educator: New companies create new jobs

Susan Desmond-Hellmann of UCSF (university of california, san francisco)

SAN FRANCISCO - CBS News anchor Scott Pelley has been asking some of the country's top CEOs their thoughts on how to fix the economy.

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Tuesday, Pelley sat down with the chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco, Susan Desmond-Hellmann. She made a fortune as head of drug development for Genentech. When she became head of UCSF - one of America's top bio-medical research institutions - she donated $1 million to help students pay their tuitions.

Scott Pelley: You woke up this morning to the Occupy Oakland arrests on your local news. And I wonder what you think when you see so many people across the country discontent?

Susan Desmond-Hellmann: Well, when I see things like Occupy Oakland or Occupy San Francisco, I think the people are afraid. What I hear around our community is concern and worry. They're worried about their kids having a better life than they had. So I think Occupy Oakland and other demonstrations like that are all about the American dream.

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Pelley: We have had unemployment in this country around 9 percent for more than two years. Why can't we create jobs?

Desmond-Hellmann: Today the job market, the jobs that are being created especially here in northern California are highly technical jobs. They require skills and knowledge that our work force doesn't always have.

Pelley: What we need at the moment are jobs right now. The unemployment rate in California is over 11 percent. Higher than the rest of the country. How do we create jobs in this country?

Desmond-Hellmann: Well, one of the ways that we create jobs here in northern California is new company creation. I had the wonderful experience at training at UCSF-- at the University of California -- and then I worked at the biotech company, Genentech. And that company was created from science out of UCSF and Stanford that didn't just create a company, created an entirely new industry. That's what we need for job creation. New companies make new jobs.

Pelley: When you see Washington unable to resolve the deficit question, when you see the credit rating of the United States marked down by Standard & Poor's, what do you think?

Desmond-Hellmann: A lack of confidence. If I'm going to start a new company I need to know that there's going to be capital, that there's gonna be enough optimism and that the government is going to come to conclusions because that sense of uncertainty, of pessimism about the future is not a positive company creator or job creator.

Pelley: Pretty much everyone agrees that Washington is tied up in knots. Your message to Washington is what?

Desmond-Hellmann: I guess simple message would be untie the knots. From where I sit, unleashing the potential of what's possible is what I'd love to ask for. So if I had two things I could ask for, don't stop investing in innovation. And my second request: education. Investing in education is the best way to invest our way out of the lack of jobs.

  • Scott Pelley
    Scott Pelley

    Correspondent, "60 Minutes"