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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Northeastern Pennsylvania and the world of tomorrow

Someday every rooftop will be covered in solar cells. Every mountain ridge will sport a chain of wind turbines. Every car will be powered by Lithium-ion batteries.

Northeastern Pennsylvania has a long and proud history of industry. Coal mining. Manufacturing. People who know what it is to work hard.

All that is becoming a thing of the past. Coal mining ended with the Knox Mine Disaster, when corporate greed placed short-term profit above the safety of the miners - and the long-term sustainability of the industry. The number of manufacturers in this area has dwindled to just a handful. One of the largest employers in the area, the Tobyhanna Army Depot, was on the short list for closures on September 10th, 2001.

The economic crisis that has gripped the rest of the nation, and the world, is nothing new here. We have coped with hard times off and on for decades. Now, those hard times are mostly on.

Northeastern Pennsylvania is home to many institutions of higher education. King's College. Wilkes University. Misericordia University. Marywood University. The University of Scranton. We educate students from throughout the region and from places farther afield, and then we send them off into the world - but do not encourage them to stay here, where the primary industries have become call centers, warehouses, and distribution centers.

The world of tomorrow needs to be built somewhere. There need to be facilities for manufacturing solar cells and wind turbines and Lithium-ion batteries. These are the things that will power the future. These are the technologies that will make the future possible.

We have the industrial know-how. We have the skilled workforce and the tradition of doing hard work. We have the brainpower and management training, if we can manage to hold onto it.

The world of tomorrow needs to be built somewhere. Why not here? Why not Northeastern Pennsylvania?

1 comment:

whimsical brainpan said...

The same could be said for my neck of the woods where so many factories have closed. Counties that used to have dozens now only have one or two if they are lucky. This country has the talent and the factories. It just needs to train the workers.