How do you build a better regional economy? One indispensable ingredient is talent. Thus, it has been encouraging to see, say, John Kasich press for a more coherent system of worker training. Or Eric Anthony Johnson push for the rebirth of University Park at the core of Akron.
Add to the list Russ Pry. The Summit County executive unveiled a small yet important initiative in his State of the County address last week. He proposed that employers create or expand internship programs, giving young people a rich experience in the workplace, encouraging more bright minds eventually to find steady employment and reside in the region.
The idea hardly is novel. Ted Strickland and Eric Fingerhut looked to develop such pathways at the state level, their plans battered as the national economy wobbled and fell into a deep recession. They understood that where someone attends college often leads to settling and working there.
In that way, the Pry proposal complements the efforts of the Akron Public Schools and the University of Akron to provide more local scholarships, not to mention Mayor Don Plusquellic’s ambitious ideas about covering college costs. The economic success of Akron and the region turns on the capacity to attract and keep talent. No endeavor is too small, even one for interns.