Jamestown needs better education and more ways to bring educated people to the city to live and work.
That was the consensus during the Strategic Planning and Partnership Commission meeting recently at the Labyrinth Press Company.
Jennifer Satalino, SPPC co-chair, started the conversation off by saying that despite funding being thrown at many agencies and organizations to help fix issues in Jamestown, they aren't going away. She said she thinks many of the problems people in Jamestown face, including poverty, stem from education, or more specifically, the lack thereof.
"There are lots of programs and enrichment activities but the outcomes are still elusive," said Linda Swanson, SPPC co-chair, saying that they need to rechannel what they are doing.
To help, Ms. Satalino suggested they work on bringing all the youth organizations together to rethink the strategy for educating the children in the community.
Ms. Swanson said another problem is that the city needs a way to bring people that do leave to pursue higher education back to Jamestown to work. There is a disconnect, she said.
Pete Lombardi, JRC director of neighborhood initiatives, said the out-migration level in Jamestown is probably normal, but there's not a lot of in-migration of educated people coming to Jamestown to live and work. He said there needs to be better marketing to advertise the opportunities in Jamestown to people who left to become educated.
John DeAngelo, The Resource Center business development manager, said as someone who was from Jamestown, moved away and then tried to move back, "it was very difficult to get back here."
Trying to find job posting was impossible, he said, even though there were jobs available. He suggested a central, easy-to-navigate site to host all of Jamestown's employment postings.
"It doesn't necessarily have to be people that left Jamestown, but the city needs to bring in young people," said Jason Stronz, Jamestown Renaissance Corporation director.
"The things we advertise are not that things that attract young people," he said, noting the Robert H. Jackson Center and Lucille Ball.
The city needs to market the great stories of all the young entrepreneurs in Jamestown, such as the ones they heard during their last meeting when they took a walking tour of some Jamestown's businesses ran by young entrepreneurs, Stronz suggested.
"We need to put together some sort of a program that says here's how you find out about opportunities in this region, so you can come back and put your talents to use ... or we need to sell it as a place with low-cost entrepreneurial possibilities," said Lombardi.
Ms. Swanson agreed, but added that there needs to be two directions: one advertising to people outside of Jamestown, and one planting a seed with the parents and children in the city that there are good opportunities in Jamestown.