Worth Reading

We are releasing our annual report later this week. My plan is to use these posts for the next several weeks to highlight our findings. So rather than wait to write a complete post on each, here are some articles I think are worth reading.

1. David  Olive wrote a fascinating column for the Toronto Star on Detroit as a model. That’s right a model for Toronto. His point: Detroit has recognized it has to change to prosper and is beginning to do the things necessary to position itself for future success. Boy what a different take on Detroit than we get here in Michigan where everything is about its presumed permanent collapse.

2. Our new report will once again chronicle the accelerating trend towards a knowledge-based economy. The NY Times has an important article on the costs to many of that transition. Folks who have lost a good-paying job permanently. As they write: “For the last two years, the weak economy has provided an opportunity for employers to do what they would have done anyway: dismiss millions of people — like file clerks, ticket agents and autoworkers — who were displaced by technological advances and international trade.” The article goes on to chronicle the consequences of occupations disappearing. The loss in standard of living and the inadequacies of our support system to help people prepare for new occupations.

3. The Times also has a terrific magazine article on school reform in the Obama Administration. How the President has courageously taken on the education establishment – including teachers unions – to get big changes in how schools are operated. It’s a fascinating read on the political power of a movement built around providing largely poor urban kids with a quality education. Quite encouraging!

4. Finally in this season of college graduation a couple of articles that challenge the conventional wisdom that college students leave Michigan because there are no jobs. Both were written during the current downturn. One from the Times on Iowa, which at that point had labor shortages. Employers having trouble filling jobs that require a four-year degree. The other from the Wall Street Journal on Portland, Oregon with the opposite characteristic. High unemployment and yet a magnet for young professionals. The evidence is clear quality of place is an important consideration for graduates as they choose where to live and work after college. If jobs mattered most, college grads would be flocking to Iowa, not Portland. They aren’t!

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