2 min read
Posted on 01.27.06
  • 2 min read
  • Posted on 01.27.06

The combination of jet lag and a busy schedule has kept me away from my computer. I’ve been in Washington, DC, with Tom Jones, who manages the City’s Workforce Development programs, to attend a meeting of the US Conference of Mayors. (I chair the Conference’s Jobs, Education, and Workforce Development Commitee.)

I wanted to attend this mayors’ meeting to listen to my colleagues present some of their best ideas to prepare citizens for good jobs in changing economies.

Our local economy certainly meets that description: our old garment manufacturing buildings are now full of residents; and our manufacturing buildings, which once serviced the region’s airplane and automobile industries, are emptying as those industries mature. We’re a city — and region — in economic transition.

Our strengths — science, law, beer, transportation, higher education, financial services, the arts, diversity, and our looks. Our challenge is to exploit our strengths.

The key to our future, of course, is public education. A large, versatile, and well-trained workforce is the best bait to catch good jobs. Add good public schools and plenty of school graduates to our strengths — and we are competitive with almost anybody, and better off than most.

I’ve written about the Hipbone Theory before: every problem is connected to another, just as the hip-bone is connected to the thigh-bone, etc. With an educated and employed workforce, reducing crime, stabilizing neighborhoods, and improving the health of our citizens is much less daunting.