WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – There’s power in working together — that’s how the mayors of the Mahoning Valley feel. On Friday, they got together and heard about what lies ahead in 2020. They also got a pep talk about how the future is now.
The mayors heard a simple message — quit chasing smokestacks and hop on board for what’s ahead.
“What’s the future and how do we position our community to get the surfboard out and ride the jobs of the future?” Congressman Tim Ryan asked.
He suggested riding the wave of additive manufacturing, which is growing by 14% a year.
The other pipeline to success, he feels, will be Lordstown Motors and the LG Chem electric battery plant.
“The spinoff from electric vehicles is eight jobs for every one job on the factory floor, which is a huge ripple effect,” Ryan said.
That ripple should include all parts of the Mahoning Valley, with big and small companies looking to plug in.
Canfield Mayor Richard Duffett was buying it.
“We feel we’re well-positioned to not only add engineers and live in Canfield, but we could also take satellite offices there with people working out of their homes,” he said.
The mayors also heard it’s important to build a quality of life. Young workers will only stay where there are opportunities for them.
Already, the process of removing dams and restoring the Mahoning River is something the mayors see as riding a strong current to success.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing,” said Hubbard Mayor Ben Kyle. “With the revitalization of the river, there’s so many ancillary businesses that could come to our area and the attraction that could come to small communities, like myself, in Hubbard.”
The mayors also heard about artificial intelligence and renewable energy.
They also came up with one of their own topics of conversation. They know retail is changing and they want to start talking this year about what can be done with all of the empty storefronts.