Saturday, June 28, 2008

Big Ten Universities Convene Summit on Midwest Economy Leaders Say it is Time to Act

From a report on a recent meeting:

"Like the national economy, the Midwest economy is facing great challenges. We believe it is important for our universities to work closely with each other and with CEOs and leaders of government to make the Midwest economy more robust," said University of Minnesota Provost Thomas Sullivan.

"When you assess the human and physical capital assets of our region, they are considerable; however our region's position is slipping relative to the rest of the country," Sullivan said. "This may be a watershed moment for the Midwest in terms of an available, talented workforce, as well as productivity."

The region attracts research and development and boasts educational resources, but the Midwest has also witnessed a dramatic restructuring of the region's economy to rely less on manufacturing. And, the Midwest population is also growing older than the nation on the whole and, in turn, the region has been losing its influence at the national level - since 1930, every Midwestern state has lost congressional seats.

"The Midwest is failing the challenge of globalization, largely because it's so balkanized, with each state trying to compete in the global economy. Midwestern states are simply too small, too incompetent, too obsessed with the wreckage of the industrial economy, to deal with the problems of the future, like education. It's time for other players - cities, businesses, especially universities - to come together in a concerted regional approach that would leverage the Midwest's strengths, not undermine them," said Richard C. Longworth, senior fellow, Chicago Council on Global Affairs and author of the new book, "Caught in the Middle: America's Heartland in the Age of Globalism" (Bloomsbury).

"We believe it is time for us to do more than talk together. It is time to act together," Sullivan said.
Good global advice, Tom. Maybe we should try it locally? The clock is ticking.

No comments: