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Difficult journey ending well for the economy of the Valley

Published: Tue, March 26, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Several months ago, an executive of a national oil and gas company that’s investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the burgeoning Utica shale play told The Vindicator’s editorial board that one of his major challenges is finding qualified workers in the Mahoning Valley to fill jobs in the industry.

The oilman from Oklahoma isn’t alone in his cry for help. We’ve heard from other officials of companies locating or expanding in the Valley and from economic development specialists who are on the front lines of the job-creation effort.

And while this situation is cause for concern — numerous initiatives have been launched to fill the companies’ demands for workers — it also is a welcome change from the past. For decades, the Valley was literally begging for jobs. It has taken more than 30 years since the collapse of the steel industry for the region to finally be able to boast of being a job creator.

Indeed, various independent studies have placed this region in the top tier nationally in terms of its recovery from the economic recession that began in the latter part of 2008.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the keynote speaker at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber’s annual luncheon last Thursday, acknowledged the economic turnaround when he said: “I have a sense, and I hope I’m right, that people are feeling better here — in a way they haven’t felt in a long time — and that thrills me.”

Kasich is right — as chamber President Tom Humphries and chamber board Chairman Peter Asimakopoulos showed in discussing the hundreds of millions of dollars in projects that are on the books this year.

In 2012, the chamber helped land nearly $377 million in investments; this year, the business organization is anticipating $760 million in projects.

The combination of the shale boom, manufacturing and non-manufacturing activities spell a word that has long been the goal for the Valley’s economy: Diversification.

After the mills closed and more than 50,000 residents found themselves on the unemployment rolls, the truth about the region was revealed: Most our eggs were in the steel basket and the auto industry. And when those two leading employers retrenched, local government officials and economic development entities were frozen in time.

Building blocks

That’s why it has taken so long for the Valley to recover. The building blocks of the new economy have been laid one at a time.

That effort is now paying dividends.

Specialty steel, as evidenced by V&M Star’s $1.1 billion investment in state-of-the-art plants, General Motors’ Lordstown assembly plant, Turning Technologies and other technology companies and the oil and gas industry all point to a future that is bright and promising.

The economic revival formula has attracted the attention of other regions of the country and has piqued the interest of old industrial cities around the world.

It is encouraging that government and non-government officials involved in the region’s economic revitalization haven’t forgotten the lessons of three decades ago.

Now, it’s up to residents of the region to get qualified and trained to fill the jobs in the new economy.


1Cubbies(37 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Does the Vindy Editorial Board meet with the anti-fracking folks as well on a regular basis? Or is the Vindy simply being bought by the pro frackers through ads?

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2Debbie(22 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

This is not only not ending well, it is NOT by any stretch of the imagination ended at all. With all of the attention being given to the monetary economy, we all need to pay heed to the ECOLOGICAL ECONOMY. That means, in a nutshell. we all diligently tend to the wellness of the earth, and it will graciously tend to our survival needs.

It is vital to life here that residents of the region get qualified and trained to recognize and understand the high volume of secrecy, collusion, coverups, misinformation and untruths deeply imbedded this industry.

In the interest of time, I've included here just two of MANY available sources.........

From 2012: http://nyagainstfracking.org/dec-gas-...

From August, 2011: http://www.krextv.com/news/around-the...

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3GeorgeinYoungstown(76 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

It appears the Vindicator editorial board is much more intent on accepting and transmitting the oil & gas corporations PR as the gospel truth on all things related to the shale industry - even in the face of countervailing evidence.

This is troubling on many levels, but especially in regard to the media's responsibility as being a watchdog, and not a lapdog.

Why does the Vindicator choose to essentially ignore the latest study which casts doubt on the "job creation" hype being spread by the industry?

"Ohio shale gas development produced a spending surge in 2012 but not many new jobs..."

"Ohioans living in counties where shale gas and oil production is under way are spending more money than they did in previous years, but the number of new jobs has not increased, a new study shows."

"...employment growth due to shale development in the counties was not evident, the report noted. Employment rose 1.4 percent year-over-year in counties with heavy or moderate shale production, compared to 1.3 percent in other counties without shale development."


Instead, the Vindicator EB decides to accept industry excuses for their own over-hyped job creation propaganda as the fault of "untrained," "unqualified", etc. workers, which essentially places the blame elsewhere - instead of on premeditated industry policies that intentionally ship in outside workers to do temporary work. You'd think _someone_ within the halls of the Vindicator would call out such blatant disinformation.

If the Vindicator editorial board exhibited the same skepticism it insists on showing for those questioning the underlying false assumptions regarding the shale "boom," they might just have more credibility regarding this issue...


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4doubled(210 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Utica Shale says....."The Vindy needs to change course and mandate all here who engage to use their true identity."

Ok, you first.

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576Ytown(1314 comments)posted 5 months, 2 weeks ago

We've long known that UticaShale is a shill for the industry.

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