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The Great Lakes Economy May Rest with Investments in Immigrants and Millennials who Choose to Stay


The industrial heartland continues to struggle with the legacy of lost jobs and population. But whether it continues to be known as a rustbelt or for its renewal depends on whether Ohio invests in immigrants and young people. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more from the national Federal Reserve summit that got underway in Cleveland today.

Map of Industrial Heartland
Jobs in the region took their biggest hit between 1999 and 2009.

Rolf Pendall of the Urban Institute acknowledges birth rates are expected to fall behind death rates in the Great Lakes region by 2030. But he notes that 600,000 babies are born each year in the six states including Ohio. And their parents are the millennials and immigrants their communities often disparage or ignore.

“Welcoming, nurturing and encouraging and accommodating the people who are born here and who decide to come here has to be part of the recipe instead of just longing for those who have gone. Longing for the factories that are gone, longing for the millennials who have moved from Columbus to Washington, D.C.”

Pendall says that means investing in pre-K education and other efforts to ensure the health and education of the entire community.  The two-day conference is focusing on how education, workforce development and entrepreneurship can benefit low- and moderate-income communities. 

M.L. Schultze is a freelance journalist. She spent 25 years at The Repository in Canton where she was managing editor for nearly a decade, then served as WKSU's news director and digital editor until her retirement.