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“England gets it” July 18, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, Education, Media, Opinion, Technology, Workforce.
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In an op-ed for the Orlando Sentinel and picked up on the wire, John Bersia relays his favorable impressions of County Durham, England – a region with a tech park and a development strategy to propel it forward. It’s the strategy that Bersia likes, one that has themes related to the alignment of workforce and economic development:

In the 21st century, though, the fighting spirit emanates from a different source: pure necessity, namely, the revitalization of an ailing industrial region.

As for the planning, it starts with a mission that properly emphasizes prosperity, sustainability and quality of life. It continues with a realistic assessment of current and potential strengths. Instead of trying to reach in all directions, this region decided that its future beckons from a manageable cluster: health care and health science, energy and the environment, and process industries, such as chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

From that point, the strategy seeks to build the region in key ways. Some, such as welcoming new businesses and growing others through assistance and economic incentives, are common in many parts of the world. But others, such as a sweeping focus on learning, education, training and entrepreneurship, are refreshingly bold, not to mention vital to global competitiveness.

Perhaps most important, the view here is truly toward the long term. This region and the rest of England clearly are positioning themselves for a rapid, rough romp through the global economy, not merely to complete the ride but to arrive first.

A nice summation of what appears to be a strong strategy – one that any community could consider.

The whole notion of revitalizing (or transforming) an industrial society to become an information/knowledge/innovation/creative society is very interesting to me – some recent travel has prompted this line of thinking. I’ll post more on that topic later.

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