Burnishing Dayton’s image could bring new businesses

Here’s what area experts say about the state of the economy in the Dayton region.

Cassie Barlow, chief operating officer of the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE): "Think about the power of all of our Miami Valley region counties coming together to attract (jobs) and doing it together. That's one area where we could get a lot better. If we could figure that out that would be a huge game changer."

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Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition: If more people knew about the region's attributes, "I believe they would choose to locate here."

Joe Tuss, outgoing Montgomery County administrator: "The diversity we've got in the economy right now is good. It's a strength. Now the question is how do you build on that?"

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Debbie Lieberman, Montgomery County commissioner: "We are thrilled with the unemployment rate. But we also are aware that we need to continue to bring jobs here that are living wage jobs."

RELATED: Democrat Cordray says his workforce training plan will bring jobs

Richard Stock, director of the University of Dayton Business Research Group: "We are no longer a union town and our wage rates are substantially lower than the Ohio average in 2017. And that is profoundly different than just 10 years ago."

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Like all of you, we care deeply about our community, and want it to be the best it can be. There is much to celebrate in the Dayton region, but we also face serious challenges. If we don’t find solutions to them, our community will never be its best.

We have formed a new team to dig into the most pressing issues facing the Miami Valley. We want to engage you and others in the community to move toward a stronger and better future. We’ve begun a project we are calling The Path Forward in which, with your help and that of a new 16-member community advisory board, we will seek solutions to issues readers told us they were most concerned about.

In June, we began the project by examining the current state of the opioid epidemic, asking what a recovered community would look like. A few weeks ago, we began an examination of Dayton Public Schools. Today, we explore why the local economy is booming for some people, while others continue to struggle.

Follow the project on our Facebook pages and at DaytonDailyNews/PathForward, and share your ideas.

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