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Old 02-29-2016, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,536 posts, read 21,393,949 times
Reputation: 35009

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rangerred View Post
This. Really above all else, ETSU is the number 1 key to improving the Tri-Cities region. Dr. Noland has done wonderful things in the short time he's been here to increase ETSU's exposure beyond the region and is really working towards re-imagining ETSU as a destination university offering unique courses that will draw from around the country and world. People like to disparage athletics, especially football, but it really is the best vehicle for ETSU to reach a wider audience.

There needs to be better communication and partnership between ETSU and local companies, not just medical services. For example Eastman is partnering with UT currently on an engineering program as ETSU does not currently offer courses pertinent to Eastman's needs. I would also like to see ETSU invest more in emerging opportunities along with arts and non-STEM fields. For example, a degreed brewing/brewery operations program to benefit the emerging market locally and that would also feed off the thriving brewing scene in Asheville. I'd like to see a heavier emphasis on the recording arts and recording industry since the bluegrass/old time music program is so strong. Also greater emphasis of the MPA program that recruits nationally and includes closer relationships with local governments encouraging program graduates to remain local.

The shift from TBR to local control should be a positive for ETSU as I think there is strong local support for the school although this is a relatively recent phenomenon. It wasn't long ago that Johnson City barely acknowledged the presence of ETSU and vice versa. The current city commission has been very progressive in forging a link between ETSU and Johnson City and recognizing what a strong economic asset the school is.

ETSU is useful, but the school can only go so far. I work in IT and have probably five people I know fairly well graduated with either a BS/MS in computer science at ETSU (one was an assistant prof. who got a PhD from a great school after ETSU and came back to teach) within the last five years. All of those people have now left the area, and a couple were adamant with me for years about how they didn't want to leave - however, they had to make a living and couldn't really do so in the Tri-Cities. Would some have left anyway? Probably, especially the person with the PhD, but I doubt they would have left as quickly as they did or would have gone where they went. If I had been able to make $40k-$50k locally, I might still be there today, and would have been far more selective about where I relocated to - instead, I had to relocate anywhere I could find work. ETSU can supply a quality education, but if there are few local employers in the field (like CS) or the local employers won't hire MANYlocals (like Eastman), there's little the school can do. "Brain drain" is a big problem in the area and I don't think local government officials even acknowledge it, much less address it.

Programs like storytelling, bluegrass, etc., have a place, but they aren't economic drivers. There are going to be precious few jobs where that degree is useful. The brewing thing would be better done in a trade school. I think the school should avoid going down the road of overinvesting in programs like storytelling that are of dubious economic value, and should instead focus on an engineering program.
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Old 02-29-2016, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Seattle
6,514 posts, read 14,780,071 times
Reputation: 2842
No, arts programs (like storytelling and bluegrass) are essential economic drivers. Any strategic or comprehensive economic development plan for the Tri-Cities must acknowledge, support and authorize these types of programs. Not every piece of an ED strategy is focused on STEM employment, although that is also an essential economic driver. And if you're overly concerned about folks leaving the area, people who want to work professionally in the Appalachian arts are possibly more likely to remain in the Tri-Cities than folks who receive training in a generic area such as IT or CS.

That has been the Tri-Cities' problem for years - putting one thing on a platform, while denigrating another. It's time for the mayors of all 4 main cities and the counties to work more closely together at a Tri-Cities Economic Development Summit or Forum or something along those lines. The groundwork should be laid today for big plans or projects that might happen in the 1-2 decade timeframe.

Also, you're hyperfocused on finding jobs, but the truth is that many successful areas recruit folks to their schools (trade, CC, university) who are job *creators*. Increased investment and support of the ETSU Innovation Lab and the inclusion of creative and dynamic business drivers like Spark Plaza is essential. For example, check this out:

Unitas brings West Coast tech jobs to Downtown JC | Spark Plaza
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Old 02-29-2016, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Johnson City, TN
667 posts, read 826,683 times
Reputation: 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by jabogitlu View Post

Also, you're hyperfocused on finding jobs, but the truth is that many successful areas recruit folks to their schools (trade, CC, university) who are job *creators*. Increased investment and support of the ETSU Innovation Lab and the inclusion of creative and dynamic business drivers like Spark Plaza is essential. For example, check this out:

Unitas brings West Coast tech jobs to Downtown JC | Spark Plaza
I was just about to post this very thing. Face it, it's unlikely that a major, established company is going to up and relocate to the Tri-Cities. Economic growth needs to focus on facilitating the growth of innovative startups that have the potential to blossom into lucrative businesses. The ETSU Innovation Lab is a wonderful asset that I feel is not promoted enough. Also, local economic development agencies should put a bigger focus on developing existing successful businesses rather than chasing the big catch that might never happen.

Sparks Plaza is a great example of a successful, innovative startup. Another local company that has been experiencing steady growth is Crown Laboratories who have had a huge success with Blue Lizard sunscreen. NN also continues to grow. The success of these small local companies often flies under the radar because they employ a small number of people but those they employ tend to be well educated and well compensated. 5 jobs making $50k or more is really equal to 10-20 jobs paying $25k so the economic impact of these small businesses is significant.
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Old 02-29-2016, 03:59 PM
 
Location: Gray, TN
2,165 posts, read 3,966,464 times
Reputation: 911
Quote:
Originally Posted by jabogitlu View Post

Also, you're hyperfocused on finding jobs, but the truth is that many successful areas recruit folks to their schools (trade, CC, university) who are job *creators*. Increased investment and support of the ETSU Innovation Lab and the inclusion of creative and dynamic business drivers like Spark Plaza is essential. For example, check this out:

Unitas brings West Coast tech jobs to Downtown JC | Spark Plaza
I like that, I like that a lot.

I'd like to see JCPB move forward with internet service. Maybe add something equivalent to Google Fiber from downtown to ETSU to the Med Center and on up State of Franklin.
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Old 02-29-2016, 05:25 PM
 
Location: Seattle
6,514 posts, read 14,780,071 times
Reputation: 2842
Branding the Med Center to ETSU to downtown as the region's Gigabit Internet Corridor is a fantastic idea. Hopefully, this is on somebody's radar.
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Old 03-01-2016, 07:21 AM
 
Location: Tri-Cities, TN
185 posts, read 237,127 times
Reputation: 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
ETSU is useful, but the school can only go so far. I work in IT and have probably five people I know fairly well graduated with either a BS/MS in computer science at ETSU (one was an assistant prof. who got a PhD from a great school after ETSU and came back to teach) within the last five years. All of those people have now left the area, and a couple were adamant with me for years about how they didn't want to leave - however, they had to make a living and couldn't really do so in the Tri-Cities. Would some have left anyway? Probably, especially the person with the PhD, but I doubt they would have left as quickly as they did or would have gone where they went. If I had been able to make $40k-$50k locally, I might still be there today, and would have been far more selective about where I relocated to - instead, I had to relocate anywhere I could find work. ETSU can supply a quality education, but if there are few local employers in the field (like CS) or the local employers won't hire MANYlocals (like Eastman), there's little the school can do. "Brain drain" is a big problem in the area and I don't think local government officials even acknowledge it, much less address it.

Programs like storytelling, bluegrass, etc., have a place, but they aren't economic drivers. There are going to be precious few jobs where that degree is useful. The brewing thing would be better done in a trade school. I think the school should avoid going down the road of overinvesting in programs like storytelling that are of dubious economic value, and should instead focus on an engineering program.
ETSU already IS focusing on an engineering program.
ETSU, Tennessee Tech joint engineering program expected to open in 2016 | East Tennessean

I'm sure there's a newer article, but I only grabbed the first one. Last I heard from Doctor Noland and others, everything is still on track and the program begins this fall.
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Old 03-01-2016, 07:47 AM
 
Location: Gray, TN
2,165 posts, read 3,966,464 times
Reputation: 911
Well that's great. I hadn't heard of that. Here's a newer link: Johnson City Press: Joint engineering program to begin at ETSU, TTU this fall

I hope they can expand the program by adding some specialties in the future.
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Old 03-01-2016, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Tri-Cities, TN
185 posts, read 237,127 times
Reputation: 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by jabogitlu View Post
No, arts programs (like storytelling and bluegrass) are essential economic drivers. Any strategic or comprehensive economic development plan for the Tri-Cities must acknowledge, support and authorize these types of programs. Not every piece of an ED strategy is focused on STEM employment, although that is also an essential economic driver. And if you're overly concerned about folks leaving the area, people who want to work professionally in the Appalachian arts are possibly more likely to remain in the Tri-Cities than folks who receive training in a generic area such as IT or CS.

That has been the Tri-Cities' problem for years - putting one thing on a platform, while denigrating another. It's time for the mayors of all 4 main cities and the counties to work more closely together at a Tri-Cities Economic Development Summit or Forum or something along those lines. The groundwork should be laid today for big plans or projects that might happen in the 1-2 decade timeframe.

Also, you're hyperfocused on finding jobs, but the truth is that many successful areas recruit folks to their schools (trade, CC, university) who are job *creators*. Increased investment and support of the ETSU Innovation Lab and the inclusion of creative and dynamic business drivers like Spark Plaza is essential. For example, check this out:

Unitas brings West Coast tech jobs to Downtown JC | Spark Plaza
I have to completely agree about the job creators. We need to encourage the risk takers and innovators. We are not a big enough metro to have tons of white collar jobs right now. Serious keeps talking about lack of IT jobs here, but I'm not sure what is expected. Unless more tech companies as a whole move to the area, we aren't going to have the large scale companies with large scale IT departments to match. It is cost effective for companies to outsource as well. Have 1-2 onsite employees for hands on stuff and have a help desk that can remotely fix the general how to and simple issues. Sure - it sucks for people in IT that want to live in areas like this, but that's the way the industry is going. For those that want to work with computers, but live in a smaller area, they have to do one of three things - take risks and branch out on their own, luck into one of the few IT positions that are local or find a company that allows remote work. More and more support and software development positions are allowing employees to be remote. It allows them to have a broader source of potential talent.
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Old 03-07-2016, 08:04 AM
 
125 posts, read 139,280 times
Reputation: 134
I think something that hurts this area are the schools. There is a very wide disparity between the good schools and the poor schools. Although the middle schools and high schools look like they have high ratings, if you look at the test scores, there are a disturbing amount of proficiency scores in the 60% and 70% range (and below) which would mean Ds and Cs. Not very impressive. The middle schools and many elementary schools lack any kind of accelerated or gifted programs. The 9th graders at Science Hill take Algebra 1 whereas my child started Algebra 1 in 6th grade. Such schools make it difficult to recruit families to move here and, I think, also contribute to people leaving the area to raise a family. It seems most transplants to this area are either retirees or college students and the Tri-cities have a lot to offer to such people, but not so much for families with school-age children. JMO
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Old 03-07-2016, 01:31 PM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
12,417 posts, read 16,002,831 times
Reputation: 30011
Quote:
Originally Posted by wombattver View Post
if you look at the test scores, there are a disturbing amount of proficiency scores in the 60% and 70% range (and below) which would mean Ds and Cs. Not very impressive.
That's not what the proficiency ratings mean. It's only a measure of how many students are at or above where they should be. Since everyone in a school is included, even special needs students, it's not always an accurate picture of how well the school is doing. It would be an indication to dig deeper into other more meaningful statistics though.
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