Friday, February 24, 2012

Professor Kotkin's Advice for the Midwest

Joel Kotkin visited Licking County in August and left us all with a brighter outlook on the future. He left, also, with a greater knowledge of Licking County and our region. The proof of that is evident in a report published online yesterday.

His latest piece was published this week titled "Clues From The Past: The Midwest As An Aspirational Region." Though there's an excerpted version at, you have to read Kotkin's full report for the Sagamore Institute to get the advice piece of this remarkable blend of historical and futurist viewpoints.

In its in the full report that his advice for the Great Lakes region comes. I sum it up this way:

1. Embrace Manufacturing. "The Great Lakes needs to focus primarily on those very values of production and community that sparked its original ascendance."

2. Invest in Skills Training. The Great Lakes needs "a greater effort in training more of the skilled workforce desperately needed for the region's resurgent manufacturers." Those who talked with him in August will find a veiled, positive reference to C-TEC's Manufacturing Certification Program here.

3. Keep Building. Kotkin urges "developing critical infrastructure to keep the region's economy humming." Kotkin includes not only rail, waterways, and highways but also adds multi-modal shipping, lab facilities, and training centers in the mix too.

His conclusion/summation is a wake-up call to everyone in the Midwest:

"The Great Lakes, rather than trying to arrest its decline by completely running away from its past, can recover the great sense of potential so evident in its heroic history."


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