From The Editors
Gov. Corbett's making news again. But... good news?
"We here at the Erie Reader are pro-Erie. Everyone knows that," writes Cory Vaillancourt in this issue's Upfront. "But we aren't pro-Erie because some of us were born here; we're pro-Erie because we live here… and just like you, we want this city, this county, this region, and this country to prosper."
While the opinions of our columnists and contributors are their own and do not always reflect that of the editorial board or the organization as a whole, this one does. Because we believe in Erie's bright future, we continually do our damnedest to bring you the good news of Erie and shine a light on the optimism all too often hiding in the darker corners of this city, while also remaining critical of the challenges presented to this area both by misfortune beyond our control as well as that by our own hands.
Often at the end of some of our heavier criticism sits one man: Gov. Tom Corbett.
Over the course of his term as Pennsylvania's governor, he's slashed education, cut from welfare programs, and championed the conversion of fresh water into a radioactive slurpee — all making him an easy target for us. And just recently he likened gay marriage to incest.
But when credits and kudos are due, we'll give them. And in our eyes, Corbett's earned some much needed praise because of a program he and his administration established and how it's about to help right here in rural ol' Erie.
On Thursday, Oct. 10, the Technology Council announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) awarded it a $100,000 Discovered in PA, Developed in PA grant. The Corbett administration initiated the program to "build capacity to better support Pennsylvania businesses and to spur creativity and innovation in the provision of economic development services, from business incubating to mentoring to marketing and beyond."
And fostering and nurturing business development is good news to everyone's ears — especially in a city where big corporations are on their way out and growth now hinges on smaller companies planting their roots here.
"With the majority of new jobs coming from startups and emerging small business," said DCED Secretary C. Alan Walker in a press release, "developing new ways to support creative thinking and business know-how is critical."
These funds, which will be used for Phase I activities related to the Innovation Collaborative — tasked with creating "a more thriving 'entrepreneurial ecosystem,'" according to the press release — will give people in our region the chance to do just that: it'll ensure entrepreneurs have access to better resources to take an idea and make it a reality here in Erie. That Innovation Collaboration has been at work for a year now dating back to October 2012, and Phase I of the initiative, according to the press release, comprises of "the creation of an inventory of the region's entrepreneurial activity, support system, and deficiencies," during which a "metrics-driven action plan" will be developed.
"This is a great day for NWPA," said Candace Littell, chairwoman of the Board at the Tech Council in the press release announcing the grant. "This is the beginning of the hard work that is required to ensure a bright future for our regional economy."
And we — champions of Erie's bright future and vast possibilities — couldn't agree more. Often there's a lot of talk, some meetings, a spool of bureaucratic red tape unfurling, and then nothing. Now we have a something tangible: an organization in the Tech Council that offers a bevy of services geared to promote innovation, wealth, and job creation while also bolstering economic competitiveness with a $100,000 at its disposal to promote success in our region.
Now let's ensure that Corbett and other representatives see the potential in Erie as Phase I gives way to Phase II, the implementation of the activities prioritized in the action plan — perhaps the even more daunting task at hand, since follow through is something this city needs now more than ever if we're to capitalize on the limited chances and resources at hand. After all, out of the entire planet, we choose to work, live, and play here, and we're bent on making this the best damn place to live in, because just like you, we want Erie to prosper and can see that bright future that lies ahead.