Friday, March 25, 2011

The City of Detroit--Could Better Leadership Have Made A Difference?

Leaders are accountable for results. expecially when it comes to preparing their young people for the future. When a city's leaders are focused on delivering results, they know that they have to anticipate changes and prepare their city to respond to those changes. These leaders know that talk is cheap and they have to deliver the goods--they know that they must graduate kids from high school who are ready for college or ready to work in a twenty first century workforce. The city of Detroit is an example of what happens to a city when its leaders are not held accountable for results?

For sure detroit was hammered by economic forces that were beyond the control of its leaders. Wave after wave of economic bad news caused factory closings to wash over the city in a rising tide of layoff notices. Hardest hit was the automotive industry with its good payinsg jobs available to the average person. You didn't need a college degee in to earn a good middle class income. As the automotive industry started to leave town the kind of people that every city needs started to leave town. The tax base that evey city needs also left town.

A March 25, 2011 Huffington Post article states "New census data indicates Detroit's population dropped by a startling 25 percent in the last decade, from 951,270 in 2000 to 713,777 last year. That's a 60 percent decline from its 1950 peak population--1.85 million--and the lowest count since the 1910 Census put the then-promising Motor City's population a 285,704."

How different could Detroit be if Detroit leaders had prepared Detroit's young people to graduate from high school ready to fill the world's need for smart people running smart machines doing smart work. A workforce doing smart work on smart machines does not lose work to countries with less skilled workers working for lower wages. Good leadership does makes a difference!

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