Youngstown and the rest of the Valley needs more than just revitalization, it needs a whole new mindset.
Living in the past, when industry in the Valley thrived, is similar to living in a fantasy world. In a global economy, no new manual-based labor jobs will be coming in mass quantities ever again. Regardless of ethical and moral views, cheap, skilled labor exists and will continue to do so until there is no demand for it.
If it weren't for Youngstown State University, General Motors and the local government, this town would have already been steamrolled by foreign competitors. An unfavorable decision out of Detroit would be crippling on this area. How long will local union leaders be able to "win" their battles against corporate?
Soon, developing parts of the world will encroach first-world standards of living, meaning a greater number of automobile purchases. Proximity, cost, reliability and efficiency of foreign cars will put another strain on the already susceptible domestics. Don't believe me? Look which companies dominated this year's North American International auto show, in Detroit nonetheless. The Hyundai Elantra took Car of the Year honors.
The president can praise GM in his state of the union for bouncing back, but that's about as good as it's going to get. Toyota and other foreign automakers have been leading the way in clean, alternative energy-based cars, and until the United States starts wending off its addiction to foreign oil, they're going to keep their distance.
Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with the work ethic around here. It's what made the area survive after the mills closed. The problem is we need more technology-based industries with highly skilled, specialized employees, especially in this area. The responsibility is in everyone's hands, not just the entrepreneurs. More area youth need to be eager about higher education in specialized fields and pursue careers with a need for employees.
Jordan D. Uhl