This post originally appeared on the blog of Policy Matters Ohio on August 31, 2015.
National media has quickly caught on to what we know too well in Northeast Ohio: Many people here have been left out of our region’s nascent recovery. As Cleveland and Northeast Ohio take center stage this election season, the main story aside from the political coverage is quickly becoming “the tale of two regions,” one in the midst of an economic and cultural renaissance and one where entire neighborhoods have fallen seriously behind amid rising poverty, crime and inequality. This tale, of course, has been told before. But suddenly, the whole world is watching.
Yes, new industries are forming, entrepreneurship is thriving, jobs are slowly coming back, and those jobs are generally good-paying jobs (hooray!). Yet, many residents—roughly one in 20—throughout the region are increasingly disconnected from the jobs. Why? There are certainly many factors at work, but top of the list is that most new jobs are out of reach for those who need them the most, due to a mismatch between open jobs and available workers’ skills and to the fact that jobs are much more dispersed and harder to get to today than they were even 10 years ago.
Granted, this is oversimplifying a bit, but these trends are clear and they are troublesome; they’ve led to an economically polarized region that acts as a brake on our overall economic recovery. So what can be done about this? Is there anything already being done? Luckily, the answer on both counts is yes.
- See more at Policy Matters Ohio.