Monday, March 26, 2012

Homesick Ohio: A Special Commentary. . .

It's Spring Break so I'm digging into the archives for postings this week. was a social media concept for a website started back in 1995.  My website connected Ohioans all over the World with their fellow Ohioians still living in Ohio and elsewhere.  The site got national recognition in 1998 when featured by the Toledo Blade in a feature article and not one, but two editorials

This "Special Commentary" piece was a feature editorial on the website starting in 1998 and was meant to lure people back to Ohio to find jobs.  Though Ohio's economy has not had the same lure for the last 12 years that it had when I wrote this in 1998, it's starting to look like it may again soon.  Here's hoping this is relevant again soon.

Special Commentary
An Open Letter to People Considering a Move Back to Ohio

In 1995, I started my web page as a hobby. RickOHIO's Northeast Ohio Page I called it. I was surprised how easy it is to make up a page, put my thoughts into words on my computer, and then share those thoughts with thousands of people through the World Wide Web.

The most surprising thing, though, is how many people use my page and others like it to find out about what's happening in what used to be their hometown or their home state. The comments I get from former Ohioans now living in other places dominate the feedback e-mail I receive. It's a motivation for me to continue to work on my website.

In the 1980's, our economy was hurting. People left. At the time my generation, the Generation Xers, was ready to enter the workforce here, jobs were scarce. My college and high school friends moved all over the country to find work. The traffic to my website proves it was true all over Ohio.

Now, I'm happy to say, they're moving back! And I encourage them whenever I can.

Chris, an old college roommate of mine from Ohio who has lived in New York and Indiana as a kid, took a job in Houston. The unexplainable Ohio lure brought him back last month.

I exchange e-mail with my long-time friend Anj. She's thinking of moving back with her husband and their son from the Carolinas. "Yes," I told her. "You CAN find work here."

A high school classmate of mine, Lisa, lived down South and in Washington, DC. Then, one day, she and her husband decided Ohio was the place for them. They left their very good jobs and came back. I saw them around Christmas in 1996. They couldn't be happier with their decision.

My website gave me the chance to help Donna, a woman whom I know only through e-mail, with a job search in Ohio. She found work and moved back.

Stories like these repeat themselves in the e-mail I get from former Ohioans all over the world.

My message to any Ohioan thinking fondly of their beloved Buckeye State: COME BACK! We welcome you back. The jobs are here now too.


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