Reimagining American Community

In his State of the Union address last night, the Prez talked about how to accelerate our efforts to create jobs and revive American manufacturing:

After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three. Caterpillar is bringing jobs back from Japan. Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico. After locating plants in other countries like China, Intel is opening its most advanced plant right here at home. And this year, Apple will start making Macs in America again.

There are things we can do, right now, to accelerate this trend. Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There’s no reason this can’t happen in other towns.

“Revolutionize the way we make almost everything”? He’s talking about this place and he’s talking about these ideas.  Turns out one great way to fight the loss of U.S. manufacturing and help revive our dying smaller cities and towns is a relatively simple recipe. First, find some vacant space in town. (Like this one once was.) Then find some adults with skills who like working with kids. Then raise a little money to buy a 3D digital printer. Then invite kids who want to “make stuff.” And stuff will happen.

About the Author
A native Texan, Elias spent several good years studying classics and medieval Italian at UC Berkeley before wasting several more years in financial journalism around Chicago. He has written for Strong Towns, the American Scholar, the New Urbs blog, and the Gary Catholic Worker and is the co-author of a textbook on character education. He briefly published something called The Armchair Historian. None of his three teenage daughters display an interest in the Greek and Latin classics thus far. He and his family reside in leafy Valparaiso IN.