May 01, 2012Education, economic development keys to improving cities like Worcester - Telegram & Gazette
Nearly all the panelists at a forum on Gateway Cities tonight agreed that improving education and attracting economic development are the keys to improving post-industrial cities like Worcester and Pittsfield, but each had a unique take on getting there.
The second annual Massachusetts Bar Association Gateway Cities Forum at the Worcester County Courthouse on Main Street was a way for the bar association to see how the resources of its members could be tapped, said Robert L. Holloway, president-elect of the organization.
Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray said that in deciding on funds for Gateway Cities — cities across the state with populations between 35,000 and 250,000 with incomes and education levels below state averages — the state needs to recognize the differences specific to each city, and be flexible with resources.
Benjamin Forman, research director for MassINC, said Gateway Cities typically have an under-utilized workforce, and said that despite the relatively good signs Gateway Cities have shown through the economic downturn — population and job growth — residents are still struggling. The education gap needs to be addressed through increased focus on early education, an extended school day, and facility upgrades, he said.