Deadline Now: Economic and Job Development in NW Ohio

Deadline Now: Economic and Job Development in NW Ohio

Friday, May 9, 2014

The economy is improving and the job forecast is getting better, but still lagging, especially in areas like manufacturing. What is the current situation in northwest Ohio? What services are available to help people start a career, or start over after losing a job?

This week's guests are: Professor Michael C. Carroll, Director of the Center for Regional Development at Bowling Green State University; Sabina Elizondo-Serratos, Associate Director, Center for Experiential Learning and Career Development at the University of Toledo; and Eric Walker, Workforce Development Director for Ohio Means Jobs Lucas County, formerly The Source of Northwest Ohio.

On the web: www.centerforregionaldevelopment.com
On the web: www.utoledo.edu/success/celcs
On the web: www.thesourcenwo.com

Here are Jack Lessenberry's Final Thoughts for this edtion of "Deadline Now:"

People my age in this part of the world sometimes get nostalgic for the economy of the past. The historical myth goes like this: Back in the day -- 1960, say, or even 1970 -- you could graduate from high school and get a job the next day on an assembly line.

The work was dirty, boring and repetitive, but paid well and had good benefits. You could live a middle-class lifestyle, have two cars and a boat, and retire in your fifties with a good pension.

Or if you were smarter or more ambitious, you could go to college and be guaranteed of a nicer, better-paying job when you came out.  Today, of course, the world is very different.

Thomas Friedman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, told me a couple years ago that when he and I got out of college in the 1970s, we then had to find a job. Today’s kids have to create a job.

That is more and more true, and that’s not easy. Of course, the great historical myth about the good old days is not completely true either. To a large extent, it was a historical accident that lasted two or three decades. Our idea of how things should be is the result of the amazing abundance and American economic domination that followed World War Two, and Cold War-inspired aid to education.

Even at its best, that economy was certainly not a level playing field for minorities or women. Blue-collar workers lives were often disputed by strikes and plant changeovers.

There was also far less concern with industrial safety than today. However, the dilemmas are harder, I think, for people getting ready to enter or reenter the work force today.

Do they go for a broad general education, or a more narrowly focused one that will lead to technical competence?

Those aren’t easy choices. But what I do know is this. We are all better off when we have skills that make it easier for us to adapt.

And millions of us are going to end up working at jobs that haven’t yet been invented. We are living in interesting times.

Our challenge is to make that fact a blessing, not a curse.   

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