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Northeastern Pennsylvania Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Pocono area
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Location: Location
6,245 posts, read 7,454,330 times
Reputation: 17949

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I posted my thoughts on my little corner of the world because I truly believe that there is a lot of good in NEPA. I didn't post about the problems because we never seem to lack people willing to do that. I just wanted to present the other side of the coin for once.

If you truly want to believe that I'm wearing my rose-colored glasses, go right ahead. But believe this - there is nowhere else you can go that isn't beset by some problem or other. Stay here and work for change - and it does come slowly - or run like Satan's chasing you and continue to "solve" our problems from a distance.

Mags, I do believe you when you say that the good old boy network is alive and well and living in Barney Farms. But I can't make that go away. If you can figure out how, I'm sure there are many people in W-B who would be happy to help. Paul, while your ideas for interesting global companies to come here by going to them sound solid, unless that includes a trip to Las Vegas, the local leaders aren't having any, thanks. And that isn't my fault.

So, day by day, I work for change in my own way. With people I know appreciate the help. People who also want change. And if I change one person or one family, I can only hope that they will in turn help another person or another family and so on and so on...
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:26 AM
 
Location: Location: Location
6,245 posts, read 7,454,330 times
Reputation: 17949
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelCityRising View Post
I do know how, and I've seriously been considering relocating back to NEPA in recent months to open my business and/or run for elected office.

Here in Pittsburgh our new mayor has already been courting a major LED light manufacturer from Slovenia, trying to persuade them to locate their North American HQ in the Steel City:

Mayor-elect Bill Peduto woos Slovenia LED firm - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

You need to be pro-active. Chamber of Commerce leaders, elected officials, economic development committee members, etc. quite frankly are quite lazy in Northeastern Pennsylvania, hence why your unemployment rate has been the highest in the state for four years now with no signs of improvement.

In a competitive global market cities and regions need brand ambassadors to both travel afield to meet with corporate interests AND welcome corporate interests on tours of their regions to help better position themselves to attract lucrative career opportunities for their constituency.

When was the last time you heard of Mayor Leighton, Mayor Courtright, their predecessors, Chamber of Commerce officials, or even state representatives who serve local communities going on "economic development trips" to other cities either to:

a.) See how things are done in areas with healthier economies and adopt those strategies in NEPA; or
b.) Arrange meetings with corporate relocation heads and attempt to persuade job creation in the region via tax incentives or just good old-fashioned salesmanship?

Like it or not NEPA is an area with below-average educational attainment, which means skilled employers aren't going to come rushing in on their own when they could locate to other low-cost areas that possess a workforce more suitable for their operations. They need to be courted, wooed, and incentivized to set up shop in NEPA. The region is very strategically-positioned just two hours from either NYC or Philadelphia and at the junctures of I-81, I-84, I-476, and I-80. There are so many STRENGTHS this region has, yet nobody in power is selling them.

If I was elected to office in NEPA, let's say as mayor of Wilkes-Barre, for example, my first strategy for job creation would be to talk to officials from King's College and Wilkes University to determine:

a.) Where their biggest "gluts" of graduates are who are underemployed within the region, indicating an untapped labor pool; and
b.) What companies/corporations fully-employed graduates are working for outside the region.

For example, let's presume King's College is graduating 25% more local accounting graduates annually than can find gainful employment within the Wyoming Valley. I know as an alumnus that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is one of the major out-of-state landing points for King's College accounting graduates. I would make an effort as Mayor of Wilkes-Barre to take a day-trip to PwC's Florham Park, NJ campus and meet with branch office executives, some of whom may be King's College graduates themselves with a soft spot for the Diamond City, about the feasibility of establishing a "back-office" or "sub-office" of PwC on Public Square to increase business for PwC through compliance auditing and tax assurance services of pre-existing major NEPA employers. A new small office in Downtown Wilkes-Barre would be relatively inexpensive for PwC to establish, a few dozen new white-collar jobs would probably be supported, and existing corporate interests in NEPA would appreciate having a branch office of PwC right in their backyards so they can easier meet face-to-face with auditors and CPAs. I would canvass local companies and get them to sign letter of intent/interest in utilizing the services of a PwC professional if there was a more convenient location to access them, showing PwC that there would be viable business for them to draw from in the region. A typical new hire at PwC makes ~$50,000/yr., and this increases rapidly in the first several years after new hires acquire their CPAs and gain experience. Imagine 50 new employees working and living in Downtown Wilkes-Barre and what that would do to help the tax base---5 "top-tier" staff each earning ~$100,000 ($500,000 payroll); 20 newer hires earning an average salary of $55,000 each ($1,100,000 payroll); and 25 mid-career/mid-level employees earning an average salary of $78,000 each ($1,950,000) for a grand total of $3,550,000 of new revenues being disbursed in and around Wilkes-Barre annually on restaurants, movie tickets, home purchases, car purchases and repairs, sporting goods sales, farmer's markets, florists, delis, etc.

^ That above is just ONE example of a failed opportunity on behalf of current elected leadership and economic development officials who are more concerned about patching potholes and hosting cocktail parties, respectively, than taking the crucial steps necessary to foster greater economic development in a struggling region. Continue being rude and calling me a naysayer or a troll all you wish, theatergypsy, but the status quo in the Wyoming Valley is absolute garbage, and I hate seeing my family/friends who still live there suffering more and more each year via the trickle-down effect of political apathy and political ineptitude.
Show me where I said you were a troll. Pffft.
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
29,650 posts, read 65,855,824 times
Reputation: 15152
Quote:
Originally Posted by theatergypsy View Post
Show me where I said you were a troll. Pffft.
You frequently compare me to the "NEPA sucks! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!" peeps from Tennessee and Ohio.
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Old 06-02-2014, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Long Island and PA too:)
213 posts, read 254,197 times
Reputation: 113
theatergypsy.....I enjoyed your post very much. It is nice to read some pros instead of only the cons of NEPA. The NEPA bashers will think of you as a cheerleader, or Pollyanna or one who looks through rose colored glasses, I however don't think that at all. It is a fresh breath of air to hear from a person who is happy and content where they live. Even though my home in Bushkill is for vacation or weekends, I find the peace, beauty and friendliness we were looking for.

Last edited by LI2PA; 06-02-2014 at 12:54 PM..
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Old 06-02-2014, 12:09 PM
 
Location: Location: Location
6,245 posts, read 7,454,330 times
Reputation: 17949
Quote:
Originally Posted by LI2PA View Post
I enjoyed your post very much. It is nice to read some pros instead of only the cons of NEPA. The NEPA bashers will think of you as a cheerleader, or Pollyanna or one who looks through rose colored glasses, I however don't think that at all. It is a fresh breath of air to hear from a person who is happy and content where they live. Even though my home in Bushkill is for vacation or weekends, I find the peace, beauty and friendliness we were looking for.
LI2, don't get me wrong. I am aware of the problems that we have. But I know that there will be plenty of people willing to point them out so I decided to post my own take on my immediate surrounds. I have lived elsewhere and come to think of it, it wasn't so bad in those other places either. Maybe it's just me!

Thanks for the kind words.
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Old 06-02-2014, 12:32 PM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
13,359 posts, read 10,712,208 times
Reputation: 9548
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelCityRising View Post
Here in Pittsburgh our new mayor has already been courting a major LED light manufacturer from Slovenia, trying to persuade them to locate their North American HQ in the Steel City:
I have a problem with politicians courting major manufacturers. Locally we had the case of our politicians giving $9 million to one company that went out and hired 88 illegal immigrants. That was taxpayer money and was supposedly going to give more taxpayers jobs. Then we have the new Northampton Community College, which has received millions of Monroe County Tax dollars and our students don't get tuition breaks while the Northampton County students get tuition breaks. Then we have IRQ that moved into the old Tannersville Roadway/Yellow Freight terminal and received millions to create local jobs - but immediately cut the employee parking lot to about one quarter of the original size. At one time the old terminal had 600 to almost 1000 employees. The new facility I hardly ever count two dozen employee cars.

All I am saying is that our politicians do a better job working for themselves and their friends than they do for the people they serve. I don't mind 'helping' or courting business - but don't give our money away for nothing.

The biggest problem is that nationally we have no leadership and I don't mean just our current President. At first the industrial age was supposed to be the bread and butter of the middle class. Then we turned to technology - that we then outsourced overseas. Now we are talking about robotics - but we still don't have any idea how to distribute the wealth. I personally believe that we were in better shape, as a Nation, when we produced 'real' products and services. I don't think that it is healthy to sit or lay around waiting for money to fall off the tree (look at the current obesity rates).

Right now they are talking about replacing migrant field workers in the next 15 years with robotics. We are also moving to replace waiters and waitresses with computer technology. Panamax could change the face of transportation in the next few years. These issues and others will affect PA and NEPA in the near future. So; where is our leadership? Can we continue to open our doors to the world and not have jobs to pay the taxes?
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Old 06-02-2014, 06:23 PM
 
Location: Hanover , Virginia
331 posts, read 523,147 times
Reputation: 230
It's worth pointing out that many jobs ask for a master's degree or better now, with bachelor's degrees seen as the new hs diploma, more or less. My biggest problem with this is that we now expect people to go into debt in the hundreds of thousands to get a career. Obviously this is not a NEPA-centric issue, but I understand some who don't want to go into the debt required for a degree if they can't get scholarships and don't want debt. At that point, they need to be a real go-getter to have a career instead of a dead end job, but it is possible.

PA would benefit from investing in the education of their youth like other states do. Money from the lottery, for example, could go to paying the way for so many people who otherwise can't afford to go.
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Old 06-04-2014, 05:55 AM
 
28,188 posts, read 19,816,346 times
Reputation: 16534
Wilkes-Barre was a garbage strewn, prostitute laden ****hole back in the 1980s when very few minorities lived here. So there's that.
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Old 06-06-2014, 12:56 AM
 
Location: somewhere flat
1,329 posts, read 1,124,835 times
Reputation: 3885
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magritte25 View Post
Wilkes-Barre was a garbage strewn, prostitute laden ****hole back in the 1980s when very few minorities lived here. So there's that.

From the time I was there, it appeared to be exactly that, except with more minorities. So glad I'm through with that place.
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Old 06-06-2014, 06:07 AM
 
28,188 posts, read 19,816,346 times
Reputation: 16534
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoulJourn View Post
From the time I was there, it appeared to be exactly that, except with more minorities. So glad I'm through with that place.
Its better in some ways than back in the 80s/90s. The downtown area has cleaned up a lot and there are a variety of things to do downtown. The riverfront is beautiful and hosts numerous events throughout the year. I am not afraid to walk downtown at night as it is usually bustling with people. Yes there are muggings down there from time to time but you'll find that in any urban setting.
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