For decades, the United States was considered the land of opportunity: a place where hard work resulted in educational opportunities and a job that paid a livable wage, offered opportunities for advancement, and included affordable healthcare.
Today, that vision is doubted by many. Rapid technological advancement, shifting economic infrastructure, and wage stagnation — coupled with the structural racism that has hindered opportunities for minority populations — has led to a considerable wealth and opportunity gap.
These changes are felt in the Mahoning Valley. The loss of manufacturing jobs, racism in the labor market, an aging population, and the loss of some young, ambitious individuals to other parts of the state have created serious concern about the region's economuc future. Recently, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services place Trumbull and Mahoning among the 10 Ohio counties with the highest unemployment rates, despite having 12,000-14,000 open jobs in the tri-county area at any one time.
How is the region's leadership adjusting to the new economy? How do the jobs of today differ from those of the past, and what strategies are being implemented to not only bring these jobs to the Valley, but to prepare our workforce to take them? Most importantly, how do we ensure that the "American Dream" is accessible to future generations Mahoning Valley residents?