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Study prescribes actions to jump-start Valley economy

Published: Wed, June 10, 2009 @ 12:09 a.m.

The survey urges the area to seek growth in industries such as transportation and warehousing.



YOUNGSTOWN — A study of the Mahoning Valley’s financial climate urges organizing

collaboratives, finding new ways of helping the poor, making smaller companies bigger, and seeking local, state and federal funding to turn around the area’s struggling economy.

The Raymond John Wean Foundation, in partnership with JB Morgan Chase and Turning Technologies Inc., on Tuesday released the 48-page report done by Corporation for Enterprise Development, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit organization.

The report includes a lengthy list of recommendations such as increasing the investment in youth organizations, helping renters who fall behind in their rent and better serving the area’s Latino community.

Over the years, many reports and studies recommending improvements to the Valley have stalled.

That won’t happen with this proposal, said Joel Ratner, the Wean Foundation’s president.

“We will be the safeguard against the report sitting on the shelf,” he said. “We will use it as a guide” over the next few years. “It’s an action plan.”

The foundation provides funding for programs, services and projects in Mahoning and Trumbull counties. The late Raymond John Wean, who owned the former Wean Engineering Co., established the foundation in Warren in 1949.

When asked about the cost of implementing the recommendations in the report, Ratner said that depends on what would be done. While not giving a dollar figure, he said money for many programs can come from the state and federal governments as well as locally.

The report is about the future, said Andrea Levere, president of Corporation for Enterprise Development.

The recommendations need to first be prioritized before they can be implemented, something that won’t be done by this year, Ratner said.

One of the survey’s main ideas is targeting workforce and educational resources to industries with decent paying jobs.

There has been progress made in this area, including the development of a new community college and a new business college at Youngstown State University, Levere said.

The survey showed that the Valley experienced a major amount of growth in the transportation and warehousing industries because of its central location to major metropolitan areas.

“The region’s business and workforce development leaders should consider how resources can be more effectively deployed to stimulate increased growth in these promising sectors,” the report reads.

Among the suggestions is “greater collaboration or a merger” between the United Way organizations in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

The declining economy has adversely affected the amount of money the United Way raises for its member agencies, said Bob Hannon, president and chief professional officer of the Mahoning County United Way.

“The time has come to collaborate and for the two United Ways to become the Mahoning Valley United Way,” he said. “We urge our agencies to collaborate and to not duplicate services. We need to do the same. I think it’s in the best interests of the Mahoning Valley for there to be one United Way.”

Thomas J. Krysick, Trumbull County United Way’s president and chief professional officer, said a merger has been discussed over the years. When asked about a merger, Krysick said, “We always look to best serve our population and our community. It’s a decision for boards to make.”


1dand1313(20 comments)posted 7 years ago

once again a study which mirrors previous studies. you can go back to the early 70's when the NOUS (northeast ohio urban system) study was developed by a premier urban planning firm suggesting the same direction. krysick's comment is a continuation of the same position weak willed leaders of this community have and will continue to take..... not supporting regionalism of services.

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2Tugboat(759 comments)posted 7 years ago

Whether the public sector or a private collaboraton, people fear inefficency:


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3Stan(9923 comments)posted 7 years ago

Just a bunch of feel good BS. If they were really serious about the economy they would lure foreign businesses into town to provide jobs. We need to bring back jobs that our companies sent overseas.

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4jamessimpson(1 comment)posted 7 years ago

The National League of Cities is grappling with issue in major and minor cities all over America. I'm in Cleveland and we're providing a solution to assist populations by providing a banking platform that they can use to help increase access and reduce crime, while increasing their income by reducing costs. I'd love to provide these services to the Youngstown area...

Philadelphia, Cleveland and many other cities are looking back at what worked in the past, and immigration opportunities made big city economies literally cook for a hundred years. It's time we revisited our approach to migrant populations who have always done more with "less" than us natives.

Again, anything I can do to help. james.simpson@icarecard.org

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5DoctorGonzo(728 comments)posted 7 years ago

This is my response to the prequel to this article, but I could not re-state it any better so:

These GD people are out of their minds. Here is a real simple list to help jumpstart the valley. I don't work for some bureaucratic non-profit in D.C and I have no hidden agenda for votes with my list, so I know most of you cannot relate to what I write down here, but give it a try, you may actually have some synapses firng after all:
1. Try and lower the income tax rate on Youngstown city residents to a rate that actually encourages people to work and live there, as opposed to a rate higher than most THRIVING METROPOLITAN AREAS in teh U.S.
2. Take all the animals of the streets and bulldoze certain neighborhoods.
3. Try and elect some new faces for council and other "leadership" positions that don't have the same letter after their name and are interested in more than travelling to New Orleans on the city's dollar.
4. Require at least an MBA from an accredited university for people in charge of business development and don't be afraid to offer tax breaks to ANY business offering jobs to the city.
5. Stop blaming everybody else for lack of foresight and common sense that has plagued the valley for 5 decades now. You live in a sh*thole because most of you have sh*t on the brain. You whine and argue and get nowhere and then you wonder why.
6. Let certain families know that if you do not become a functioning member of society (ie. job, well-kept home, pay bills, no crime, etc.) the financial breaks you get form the city in low rent, free food and the like are gone. No exceptions.
7. Let certain "politicians" know that if real change and progress are not made during this term you may be facing a short rope and a long drop. Unfortunately, force and threats are the only thing these politicians may understand.
8. Take time to realize that blacks, whites, hispanics, etc. can get along just fine in a functioning society as long as they all act like humans. Wipe the slate clean of the animali and then make an honest attempt to wipe your own slate clean of pre-conceived notions about race and color.

8 simple steps. No charge to the city. No soapbox grandiose reprimands, and no anti-whitey cultural suggestions that make no sense, and no empty promises from some hack who was given his position as a favor.

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