Attracting Young People to Cleveland and Detroit: One Take

As we at Changing Gears prepare for our upcoming event in Michigan about retaining young people, Tom Bier of Cleveland State University has a provocative take in Sunday’s Plain Dealer about what cities like Cleveland and Detroit need to do. The crux: these cities need attractive downtowns and the regions need to work together to make sure the central city is strong.

Read the full piece here and tell us what you think.

Mark Your Calendars for “Don’t Go!” On 2/16

Why do some of the smartest students from around the country flock to our region, and leave after they graduate?  What makes companies and entrepreneurs decide to invest here anyway?

Changing Gears will look at those questions at its next event, “Don’t Go! What Will Keep You Here?” with speakers from Google, Mr. Song Millinery and Heart Graffiti.

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Obama and the “Sputnik” moment

Even though President Obama began his speech in Manitowoc, Wisconsin today joking about the Chicago Bears loss to the Green Bay Packers leading up to the Super Bowl, he was very serious about talking about how much segments of our economy need a reinvention, a theme of last night’s State of the Union address.

Manitowoc is famous for being where a big piece of the Sputnik crashed in 1962. The Sputnik of course, famously launched the Space Race and all the innovation that came with it. President Obama was at specifically at a clean energy plant, Orion Energy Systems, speaking about how much the country needs to get behind entrepeneurs like its founder, Neal Verfuerth:

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Auto Show Numbers Up

ANN ARBOR — The people over at the North American International Auto Show sent out a press release today titled “Validation of Promise.”  What was the promise?  That after some undeniably rocky years, Detroit would come back swinging at this year’s show, boasting vibrant new cars and all the buzz that comes with them.

Well, one measure of buzz is who shows up.  And for the second year in a row, attendance at the auto show rose.  Continue reading “Auto Show Numbers Up”

Changing Gears Podcast: Transportation, Culture and more

What the west side of Cleveland will look like once the highway is removed.

Welcome to the new and improved Changing Gears podcast. Each week, we’ll be offering you headlines from around the region, a story of the week, an essay on ways to improve our region, and some information about events going on in our states.

Up this week: Dan Bobkoff takes a look at the notion of highways. Do they no longer represent the idea of progress?  And Grand Rapids entrepreneur Rick DeVos shares his thoughts on what the Midwest needs most.

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The Hot Wings Index

Buffalo Joes in Evanston, IL (Niala Boodhoo)

CHICAGO – I’ll be honest. I’m probably more of a fan of football food than the game itself. And, when I do watch the NFL, it’s hard to get away from my Miami Dolphin roots. Still, Bears fever is pretty infectious here in Chicago, so we thought at Changing Gears we’ld take a look at what kind of economic impact the game is having on local businesses in Chicago and Green Bay.

So, I took it upon myself to make this story about chicken wings. After all, a game day football menu isn’t complete without wings, right? So to see if local businesses are getting any jump from the playoff, I thought I’d create my own economic indicator – I’m calling it the Hot Wings Index.


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New Midwest Governors, Old Headaches

New faces are occupying the executive offices in Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio. Beside their party affiliation, Republicans Rick Snyder, Scott Walker and John Kasich share big problems. All are struggling to deal with big budget deficits, high unemployment and keep businesses in their states.

That’s where the similarities end. Each governor has outlined different approaches for dealing with their dilemmas. In a special report for Changing Gears, Rick Pluta of the Michigan Public Radio Network and Karen Kasler of Ohio Public Radio’s Statehouse Bureau took a look for Changing Gears at how new governors. Walker, Snyder and Kasich are spending their first days on the job.
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Upcoming Event: “Growing Together”

On Thursday, January 27th from 4-6:30 pm you are invited to attend a free public forum “Regional Prosperity for Northeast Ohio: Growing Together” at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. The Growing Together forum will include a moderated panel with state legislators, policymakers and round table discussions for participants. Questions such as “How can the communities of Northeast Ohio come together to create an environment for economy prosperity? What are the connections between job growth, economic development and government collaboration and what are the next steps will be discussed.

All forum events are free and open to the public however, you must register at or by calling 216.523.7330 – seating is limited.

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