Monday, August 09, 2010

Brain Drain Drives Youngstown Economic Redevelopment

Innovation DAILY picked up on my blog post about the role of Atlantic Canada's expatriates in the economic redevelopment of that region. The premise of the approach to regional talent management is finding dividends in outmigration. Perhaps no US city understands this counterintuitive policy better than Youngstown:

“The Surprising New Youngstown!” That’s a phrase gaining currency across the country, and around the world, as people are learning of the new story of Youngstown from the likes of NPR, the BBC, and from publications such as The Economist, Inc., Entrepreneur, and shortly Business Week. ...

... It’s being told through our again vibrant arts, music and entertainment communities that have been revitalized by the ideas and inspiration of our returning Diaspora in those fields and who have made downtown Youngstown the region’s most exciting place to live, work and play.

But, it’s perhaps being told best by I Will Shout Youngstown, a blog that covers all that is iconic, innovative, and creative in the Surprising New Youngstown. It’s written by John Slanina, who has literally lived, worked, and studied all over the world, before coming home this year to take an employment position with a YBI portfolio company. If you cannot participate in the amazing changes happening in the Mahoning Valley, you are cordially invited to read about them here:

One of the stories that New Youngstown tells is how talent has returned and is leading the way for the revitalization of the Mahoning Valley. These pioneers have turned brain drain on its head. John Slanina demonstrates another application flipping around perceived liabilities:

A Great Place to Fail
- A Greater Place to Succeed

This kind of out-of-the-box thinking is what I've come to expect from Youngstown, a place that celebrates the outmigration of its graduates. Tremendous opportunity can grow out of dramatic economic turmoil. The same can be said about brain drain. Few communities have the courage to explore the possibilities. Few shrinking cities are genuinely willing to bring new voices to the table. That's why my money is on Youngstown to succeed where so many others have failed.

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