Getting past the belief that if we just have a "fighter" in the White House or in the Mayor's office, all those jobs will come back is an important step in moving forward. Look to the future not to the past. Midwesterners must embrace education and a different kind of education, one that is not based on mechanistic industrial values but on thinking and adaptability -- learning to learn. And then we must use our ingenuity and acquire a more entrepreneurial attitude (draw upon our immigrant pool with their much higher rates of business start-ups) toward our assets.
The point of emphasis, obviously, is education. Longworth covers a range of issues that the Midwest needs to address and I'm tracking what appeals to various interested parties. A few of the Rust Belt Bloggers appreciate the call for better transportation links between the shrinking cities. Richard Florida also champions the idea. I'm cool on the prospect because I doubt such an ambitious project could get off the ground. The political geography is too daunting.
Update: Check out this debate about a new community college in Erie, PA. Missing from that conversation is an understanding of how a community college can help a region cope with globalization.