Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Taking a break

Lincoln Avenue is taking a break for the holidays, but I'll be back in January with new shows and more blog entries.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear your ideas for future shows. What do you see as the most important or interesting issues in our community? Who has a perspective that isn't being heard? Send me your suggestions.

Until January, have a great holiday season and enjoy winter!

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Good Day's Work Deserves a Good Day's Pay

This week on Lincoln Avenue, I’m talking with Dr. Terry Easton. He visited YSU as part of this year’s Center for Working-Class Studies Lecture Series, speaking about his research on day laborers. Terry’s dissertation won the Working-Class Studies Association’s first annual Constance Coiner Award for the best dissertation.

His work raises interesting and troubling questions about the changing nature of work and the dynamics of race and class in American cities. Day laboring includes both jobs assigned by employment agencies that specialize in “work today, get paid today” labor, mostly in construction and landscaping, and the jobs workers get by standing on the right street corner and being picked up by a homeowner or contractor. In both cases, workers are at risk of workplace accidents, because the workers often have neither safety equipment nor safety training, and many don’t speak English. Worse, they run the risk of not getting paid at all, and when they do get paid, they usually receive just the minimum wage. Many of these workers are homeless and battling drug and alcohol addictions. Several organizations are conducting research and organizing to protect day laborers, among them the Day Labor Research Institute.

The problems facing day laborers have been exacerbated by immigration and the rapid growth of some cities, like Atlanta. While growth has increased the demand for day laborers, immigration has put black and latino workers in competition. The increasing visibility of day laborers also adds fuel to the anti-immigration debate. Yet, as Easton points out, even illegal immigrants are human beings, who deserve fair pay for their work. You may not like the fact that they’re here, but they are part of the economy. Paying them so little – and not paying them at all sometimes – helps keep the costs of construction down and contributes to economic growth.

All of this may feel distant from Youngstown. Easton focused his discussion on day laboring in Atlanta, after all. But when he spoke with Tod Porter’s economics class, Easton discovered that a number of YSU students either knew someone who had done this kind of work or had their own experience as day laborers. They could name several local agencies that manage day labor jobs, and they recognized the “standing on the street corner” version of day labor as something they had seen near big box hardware stores. Even as we tout the growth in professional jobs in the Mahoning Valley, we must remember that new construction and demand for landscapers create the conditions for low-wage, high-risk jobs.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A View from the City: Growth and Challenges

Come January, Youngstown’s city council will be dominated by new members, though some are not new to local politics. This week on Lincoln Avenue, I talk with Jamael “Tito” Brown, who was just elected to represent the 3rd Ward. Brown’s not new to local politics, though. He’s just completing a term on the Youngstown City Schools Board, and he’s worked on a variety of local projects, including 2010. In our interview, we’ll discuss local schools, issues facing the city, and regionalization.

The primary city council concerns Brown raises are housing, crime, and economic development. He expresses concern about people buying local houses online without understanding the local conditions that create these seeming “bargains,” as well as concern about the quality of life in Youngstown’s neighborhoods. Part of that is about controlling crime, but neither housing nor crime can be fully solved without economic development.

Economic development will shape everything else, but it will require us to deal with two issues that most people would prefer to ignore: class and race. We’re facing a class divide in current discussions of development, which focus on bringing high-tech jobs to the region. That’s a great idea, but it won’t necessarily help many who live in the city. The local economy will certainly benefit from growth in the technology sector, but we also need jobs that don’t require specialized skills or high levels of education. We need to think about Youngstown’s working class, not just its professional class. Brown’s ward reflects that: he represents everyone from those living in poverty to leaders in the new tech boom.

Another key issue in economic development is regionalization, and that presents challenges related to race. If we want to create more regional networks, of any kind, we will have to face up to the realities of segregation and racism. We live in one of the most segregated areas in the country, and that’s partially a result of the white flight in the 1950s and 60s. But the problem isn’t just segregation. It’s also about attitudes. A few years ago, at a meeting of local government officials from townships in Mahoning County, I heard several comments about how “those people” in the city can’t manage anything. Of course, racism isn’t just a city vs. suburbs problem. I live in the city, in a neighborhood that is more integrated than any place I’ve lived before (in terms of both class and race), and I hear more openly racist comments here than I ever have anywhere else. That creates divisions that make it harder for us to address the local problems that affect all of us. Ignoring those divisions doesn’t make them disappear, but, as Brown suggests in our conversation, we can make progress by keeping our eyes on the prize of economic growth for the whole region and all of its citizens.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Arts in the City: Community Development Means More than Just Business

Over the past few months, I’ve spoken with several local leaders who are working on community development, mostly with a focus on attracting new businesses to Youngstown. But community development is not just about business. A vibrant community must also have functional networks of active citizens, a sense of its own identity, and a lively cultural life. And here in the Mahoning Valley, we have a good start on all three, perhaps most especially on cultural life. The local arts community is incredibly varied and active. While that’s been true for the past century, these days we see a new generation of artists and arts organizers, bringing new energy and new projects to the Mahoning Valley. This week on Lincoln Avenue, I’m talking with one of the leaders of that new generation, Brooke Slanina. She’s Vice President of the Board for the Oakland Center for the Arts, but more important, she’s an energetic, creative spirit who understands both why the arts matter and how hard it will be to ensure the long-term vitality of our diverse arts community.

One of the challenges that Brooke and her colleagues face is, ironically, the successful arts history of the area. Because of that, we have several active local community theaters, but they also compete for money, audiences, volunteers, and attention. We saw dramatic evidence of the problem earlier this season when several different theaters put on versions of Beauty and the Beast. No doubt, all were good productions, but I’d bet that none got as large an audience as it might have if it were the only production of that show. There may be similar overlaps among visual arts venues. I think the music community does a better job of coordinating its activities, perhaps because of overlaps of personnel and management in both popular and classical music.

We need the arts to ensure a vibrant future for the Mahoning Valley, so we need artists and arts organizers to work together. In our interview, Brooke talks about several ideas that are just getting going. If those organizing efforts can take off, then those of us who are arts consumers (rather than creators) have much to look forward to. One starting place to learn more about the arts in Youngstown is the CityArts website.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Progress and continuing struggles in the Youngstown City Schools

The election is next week, and one of the hottest issues is the proposed levy for the Youngstown City Schools. This week on Lincoln Avenue, I talk with Dr. Wendy Webb, the district’s superintendent, about both the good things happening in the local schools and the continuing challenges.

New school buildings and significant renovations across the district are providing better learning environments for our students, and if we are to believe education scholar Jonathan Kozol, that will make a real difference. Better facilities not only increase access to technology, they also send a message that students and education are valued.

No doubt, the Youngstown City Schools continue to struggle with test scores and graduation rates, yet both have improved over the past few years. Graduation rates are up by about almost 18% since 2002, for example. Yet Youngstown’s challenges with educational achievement are not unique; most urban districts struggle with the same issues. While Youngstown continues to lag behind state targets, the improvements are real and significant. I think it’s also important to remember that the problems are much bigger than education. Students will always struggle to learn if they don’t have enough to eat, come from homes where daily life is a constant struggle, or have little hope about the future. The challenges sometimes feel overwhelming. And yet the local district is making progress.

Unfortunately, the Youngstown City Schools continue to face a serious financial crisis. Despite reducing staff and other expenses, the district’s budget will likely be several million dollars in the red by the end of the school year. It’s always hard to accept the idea of paying more, especially for a district that consistently lags behind in its performance. But the progress made over the past few years suggests there’s good reason to invest in the Youngstown City Schools. And if we want this community to be able to pursue a different kind of economic future, then we need to educate the next generation. As I see it, a vote for the levy is a vote for a better economic future for all of us.

I want to make one additional observation: the district could do a better job of telling its story. While the local press usually zooms in on the bad news, the district has plenty of evidence of progress. Yet finding that data on the district’s website is difficult. I went looking for links to include in this blog, but I couldn’t find the information I wanted. UPDATE: The district has now posted the latest issue of its "Dispatch," which includes some of the statistics on graduation rates and other news.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Tale of Two Faiths: Science and Religion

In recent years, public debates about creationism in the secondary curriculum have highlighted what seems to be an insurmountable divide between science and religion. This week, I’m discussing this divide with theologian Dr. John Haught. He’s a senior fellow in Science and Religion and the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, and he visited YSU recently as part of the Albert and Thomas Shipka Lecture Series. Along with writing books, such as God After Darwin and Is Nature Enough? Meaning and Truth in the Age of Science, Haught provided expert testimony in one of the several court cases about the place of evolution in the school curriculum, in which he explained why "intelligent design" should not be taught in the science classroom.

For Haught, the idea that religion and science can’t fit together reflects a misreading of both. As he explains, the problem is not – as I had always assumed – about whether we read the creation story literally but about the religious implications of the key concepts of evolution. As Haught explains in our interview, and in the texts that you can access from his webpage, the apparent challenges to faith rest in the idea of a deity who could create a mutable world, especially one in which randomness and natural selection would play major roles. Yet, he suggests, these concepts do not necessarily contradict the core beliefs of Christianity.

Further, and even more interesting, is Haught’s claim that we might view science as another type of faith. The idea that we can only believe in what can be proven through material evidence and that nothing beyond that can possibly exist is itself an article of faith for scientists. So, he suggests, the conflict over evolution and creation is a conflict between two faiths.

As for how to resolve the conflict, Haught emphasizes the importance of education – not merely education in science or religion but education that examines the relationship between them. This should happen in schools but also among scientists and theologians. He believes that dialogue can be the first step to reconciliation.

Haught’s ideas reflect a complex and crucially important dialogue going on in American culture today, as we wrestle with the place of religion in public and private life. This is not simply a theological or philosophical debate; rather, it is a debate about what it means to live in a pluralistic society in which religion has almost always been at once contested and central, diverse and influential.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Diversity in the Mahoning Valley: Appreciation or Conflict?

On Lincoln Avenue this week, I’m talking with Anne McMahon, YSU Management Professor, about Partners for Workplace Diversity, a project she started 12 years ago to create a network of local businesses and organizations who could work together to address diversity issues in the workplace. The network includes YSU, several area banks, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, GM, and other local companies and groups. Along with sharing resources, the group sponsors a series of events every year, including workshops, awards dinners, and cultural events. This year, the events have included programs in disability awareness, treating patients from diverse backgrounds, and a kick-off breakfast. If you’d like more information, contact Anne McMahon.

Partners for Workplace Diversity approaches cultural differences with a focus on appreciation and inclusion, and, as Anne explains in our interview, they try to ensure that people enjoy their events, instead of coming away feeling frustrated, angry, or guilty. That allows people to engage more positively with people who are different from themselves. At the same time, we live in the 4th most segregated community in the U.S., and racial divisions continue to present serious problems here. And these are problems of conflict, economics, and access to opportunity, not problems of tolerance or appreciation.

Partners for Workplace Diversity make a useful start on addressing the divisions that can keep people apart. Their emphasis on the idea that everyone has something valuable to contribute works well to engage audiences in thinking about difference. Unfortunately, diversity is simply not something we can always feel good about – especially in the Mahoning Valley, where our divisions create obstacles for moving ahead.

On another note, it’s pledge week at WYSU. If you appreciate what you hear on the station, whether that’s Lincoln Avenue, Morning Edition, or the great music, I hope you’ll help support us.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Transforming the Rust Belt into a Tech Belt

My guest on Lincoln Avenue this week is Congressman Tim Ryan. We’re talking about the Tech Belt Forum that he hosted at YSU on October 1 and his vision of creating a regional network to attract investment and new ideas that will help transform the “rust belt” into a “tech belt.”

Ryan is working with Pennsylvania Representative Jason Altmire on this project, making it the latest addition to an emerging array of regional projects. While some in the local community worry about maintaining local identities – and local control, it seems that we – as a region and locally -- have more to gain by cooperating than by focusing on competition. As Ryan notes in our interview, despite some historical divisions, our region faces some similar challenges and opportunities. And when it comes to securing funding, foundations and investors are likely to believe that their investment will go farther if it serves a whole region rather than just one locality.

Ryan also talks about the need for new approaches to education in order to prepare this area’s young people for new kinds of jobs. As a region, we have relatively few adults with college degrees, and if we are to build a high-tech economy, we will need to improve the quality and quantity of education that our children have. Ryan cites the robotics program at Warren Harding High School and the new health care magnet school that the Youngstown City Schools have established at Choffin as examples of programs that are taking new, more hands-on approaches to engaging young people in science. We didn’t get the chance to discuss “No Child Left Behind,” but it’s clear that Ryan sees the need for new policies and priorities in public education. I agree. Unless we change the way we approach education, we won’t be able to improve our education rates in this Valley.

After having several conversations with local leaders about efforts to support the development of a technology economy in northeastern Ohio, I’m still somewhat skeptical about whether this is enough. Even if we were able to add 1000 new jobs in technology industries, we would still have thousands more workers who have been left behind by manufacturing and who don’t have the training to more into high-tech jobs. Building a technology economy will certainly help, but we need more – more training, more protections for workers, more small businesses, more education.

You can share your thoughts about the Tech Belt concept here, by posting a comment, or you can write directly to Ryan.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Is technology the answer?

This week on Lincoln Avenue, my guest is Chris Mather, the Director of TechLift, a new project that provides support for developing hi-tech businesses in northeastern Ohio. Chris was in town for a kick-off event to introduce the project’s goals and services to local business people.

TechLift is one of several projects aimed at transforming this region from an area known for heavy industry, especially steel and auto manufacturing, into an area known for creative technical innovations. Chris hopes to accomplish that by mentoring business developers, helping them secure funding, and helping them connect with suppliers, staff, collaborators, and clients.

As Chris notes during the interview, many of the areas around the country that have successfully put technology at the center of their economies have been able to draw on the expertise and support of major research universities. Here in northeast Ohio, we bring a different legacy to technology development. While relatively few people in the region have college degrees, we have a long history of making both raw materials and machinery, and those are two of the five areas of focus for TechLift: advanced materials (meaning specialty metals, among other things) and electronics (including instruments and controls). Both of these are also areas of technology development that bring both specialized jobs for highly-trained professional staff and at least some jobs for more ordinary workers.

As with other projects focused on technology development, TechLift seems like a worthwhile project that will contribute to the region’s economic growth. Yet I think we should be wary of looking to technology as the savior for the Mahoning Valley. Can we develop new technology-based businesses in this area? Yes. Will such businesses provide jobs for the majority area workers who don’t have specialized training? No. Such companies will contribute to the local economy, and we should welcome them. But they are not, in and of themselves, enough for us to have a secure economic future. Too many area residents will still be left under- and unemployed, or working in fields that are steadily shrinking. These new businesses will help, but repairing the local economy will also require that more of our young people take education seriously and that we encourage the development of many kinds of businesses. We also have to work to ensure that the jobs created here pay well, have decent benefits and safe working conditions, and that the profits, as much as possible, feed back into this community.

What do you think? Where do you see hope for the local economy and our community’s future?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Youngstown's place at the regional table

Much has been made – in local blogs, regional politics, and in national and international media – about Youngstown’s innovative approach to its shrinking size. The 2010 plan has been widely touted as a breakthrough model for urban planning, promising to remake the city in greener, less wasteful, and more productive ways. This week on Lincoln Avenue, I’m talking with one of the key advisors to 2010, urban development expert Hunter Morrison. The conversation explores where Youngstown is now, what its future might look like, and how we’re being affected by regional economic developments.

Hunter has only been in Youngstown for about five years, after spending many years working in Cleveland. Despite that short tenure, he talks about this place with incredible, infectious passion. He acknowledges the challenges but emphasizes the positive potential of this community. He sees the growth of small businesses, the return of what he calls “the Youngstown Diaspora,” and our growing sense of regionalization as sources of hope. Even when I’m skeptical about some ideas, I come away from a conversation with Hunter feeling optimistic.

For example, Hunter predicts that the Cleveland/Youngstown/Pittsburgh corridor will become one large economic region, and because Youngstown is geographically central, we will play an important role as these cities learn to work together to promote development and do economic planning as a region. While I agree that the region is becoming a sort of megalopolis, and that does bring new money into the Mahoning Valley, I have doubts about whether it’s entirely a good thing. Do we want to be a bedroom community for people working in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Akron? How will that affect local workers and the local economy? If we become the meeting place for leaders from the big cities, will our needs and issues be heard? Hunter is enthusiastic that regionalism can help this area, and while I hope that’s true, I also have some doubts. Regional growth may be inevitable, but I think we need to be strategic about our role and our interests.

You can hear the full interview at

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Making history all over again

This week on Lincoln Avenue, I’m talking with Tim Sokol about “Iron Soup,” his ambitious project to renovate the concrete townhomes built by Youngstown Sheet and Tube back in 1918. Tim’s excitement not only about this project but about this community’s past and future come through loud and clear in our conversation. For me, this project is a great example of how building a new future for the Mahoning Valley is deeply connected with the history of this community.

The neighborhood where Tim and his colleagues are working was originally built by Sheet and Tube, largely in response to a strike in 1916 that had resulted in fires that destroyed a large part of the town, which was then known as East Youngstown. For the company, building worker housing was both a way to help workers create more stable lives and a way of persuading them against union involvement. The homes were available only to those designated as “good company men,” people who didn’t cause trouble or make demands. The Blackburn plat, the homes on which Sokol is working, was built for immigrant and African-American workers, with segregated sections. From the company’s perspective, such segregation was also strategic: if they could keep workers of different backgrounds separated, they’d be less likely to organize or stand up for each other’s rights.

That combination of conflict and innovation, divisions between people and collaboration, reflects well the power of our past to shape our future. Out of a turbulent and conflicted period in the area’s history, we developed housing that was historic – not only because it helped to shape the landscape of Campbell but also because it was the first prefab concrete housing ever built. Unlike the more conventional areas of worker housing built by Sheet and Tube, this one has been designated a historic site by the National Historic Register.

Sokol hopes to make history all over again by using the remnants of Campbell’s earlier history as the foundation to create another kind of model community, one that will demonstrate the potential for grassroots organizing, community building, local economic development, and environmental innovation. His vision goes far beyond simply “saving the neighborhood”; he has ideas about how communities ought to work and what can happen here.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Remembering Black Monday

This week on Lincoln Avenue, I’m talking with Brian Corbin, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Services and Health Affairs for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, about the Ecumenical Coalition, a local effort spearheaded by area clergy to respond to the closings of steel mills that began 30 years ago. One of the leaders of the Ecumenical Coalition was Bishop James Malone, and Brian talks about Malone’s vision for the role of religious organizations in social and economic justice.

Next Wednesday, September 19, we will commemorate Black Monday, the day that the first of the major Youngstown mill closings was announced. The event is jointly-sponsored by the Center for Working-Class Studies, the Mahoning Valley Historical Society Young Leaders’ Advisory Board, YSU Center for Applied History, the Office of Social Action of the Diocese of Youngstown, and the Youngstown Historical Center (also known as the “steel museum”), our host for the evening. The event will include comments from four men who played key roles in the steel industry of the era, including fight to save the mills: William Farragher, who had worked in management at Youngstown Sheet and Tube; Gerald Dickey, a steelworker who also edited the Brier Hill Unionist, representing 1,500 workers at Sheet & Tube’s Brier Hill Works; the Reverend Ed Weisheimer, one of the clergy involved in the Ecumenical Coalition; and Attorney Staughton Lynd, who served as chief counsel to the Coalition.

Many people have asked me why we should remember Black Monday, suggesting that this community should stop holding on to its difficult history and focus on building a new kind of future. My answer has two parts. The first is simply that I believe that the present and future of this community will inevitably reflect its history, and if we want to create a different kind of future, we must recognize both the strengths and challenges of our past. That is, we must build on our history of hard work, strong community ties, and resilience, but we must also wrestle with our history of racial, class, and geographical divisions, of corruption and competition, and of relatively low levels of educational achievement. To build a stronger future, we must address these challenges.

At the same time, I think we should remember this history because it matters far beyond Youngstown. The ideas that were generated here went on to shape national positions of the Catholic Church, as Bishop Malone brought ideas from the Ecumenical Coalition to the US Council of Bishops as they wrote their historic Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy in 1986. This community’s struggle also led to national legislation on plant closings, helping to protect workers in other areas. While those national outcomes may not affect the local community in concrete ways, they have helped to put Youngstown on the map not only as the poster child for deindustrialization (as John Russo and I wrote in Steeltown USA), but also as a community known for its persistent struggle for economic justice and survival.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Barzak's first novel

This week on Lincoln Avenue, I'm talking with Christopher Barzak, whose first novel One for Sorrow was just released by Bantam Books (the link takes you to a review in the Village Voice). It's a ghost story set in the Mahoning Valley, centered on a 15-year-old working-class boy and his relationship with a classmate who has been murdered, but it's also a story about the relationship between life and death, struggle and hope. Along with taking us inside the mind of a teenage boy who's not sure of his place in the world, Barzak invites us to see our own community in new, sometimes eerie ways. He uses real places -- Dorian Books, the old partially-burned church on Elm Street across from the cathedral, and Youngstown's streets -- but he makes them at once familiar and strange.

In our conversation, Chris talks about how growing up here influenced his writing, the process of writing fantasy fiction, and about how his life as a writer is changing as he's having more success and therefore becoming a more public person. Along with publishing this novel, Chris had another piece -- "The Language of Moths" -- nominated for a Nebula Award in Science Fiction and Fantasy earlier this year. You can find that story and other links to Chris's work on his blog, Meditations in an Emergency. As always, you can listen to the interview at 7:30 Wednesday evening on the air, or hear it online by visiting the WYSU webpage.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

New Colleges, New Deans -- Changes in the Air at YSU

Welcome to Lincoln Avenue! After being an occasional host on WYSU’s Focus Program for about 10 years, I’ve now started my own weekly program. On Lincoln Avenue, I’ll talk with local activists, leaders, and critics about what’s happening in the Mahoning Valley and here at YSU, and I’ll talk with visiting experts on a wide range issues, from politics to science to the arts. You can always learn more about each week’s topic here on the Lincoln Avenue blog.

Unlike daily news sources, a weekly program isn’t necessarily tied to immediate events. My goal is, rather, to draw attention to trends, issues, and ideas that might not be “hot” enough to make the front page or the evening news but that affect our community in important ways. Over the summer, I talked with “Janko,” one of the leaders of the recent wave of Youngstown blogs and community organizing by young professionals in the area. I got an update on Youngstown 2010 from Bill D’Avignon, and a report on the area’s potential for “brain gain” from Julie Scarsella. Jim Cossler brought his evangelizing about the Youngstown Business Incubator to the program. Soon, I should have links to those earlier programs here on the blog. For now, you can hear each week’s program by visiting the WYSU web page.

This week’s show features Dr. Shearle Furnish, the dean of CLASS, YSU’s new College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. In many ways, CLASS isn’t new at all; it’s made up of the 9 departments remaining in the old College of Arts and Sciences after the University moved the science, math, and computer sciences departments into the new STEM college. That creates a challenge for Dr. Furnish: how to engage faculty positively in building a new identity for the humanities and social sciences. For Furnish, what sets CLASS apart is our commitment to and excellence in undergraduate general education. Majors and graduate programs matter, but as he explains, CLASS faculty will meet new students early and our teaching and attention can have a significant influence on students. As someone who’s been actively involved in local and national teaching initiatives, I’m excited about having a dean who cares about teaching. At the same time, defining ourselves as “the general education experts” seems to minimize the importance of our research and our expertise in our fields of study.

Last week, I talked with Dr. Martin Abraham, the founding dean of YSU’s new college of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Given the growth potential that Jim Cossler sees in software development businesses and the state’s interest in promoting STEM approaches to education, this college seems to have potential to help both YSU and the community. But it brings challenges, too. Reorganizing the University is not just about changing letterhead; it involves people. For the faculty in STEM, this change will bring new pressure to collaborate across disciplines. That can be productive, but it can also be difficult. While academic disciplines are, in some ways artificial – in the so-called real world, knowledge isn’t broken into separate, well-defined sections – most college professors have been deeply trained in one field, and our work lives are structured around our departments. Interdisciplinary work asks us to think in new ways, and it can feel professionally risky. In our interview, Abraham talked about his role in bringing faculty together, as well as about the relationship between the new college and local economic development.