Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Sunday, February 04, 2007

In Praise of the Less-Elite

From today's Lewiston Tribune:
The economy here relies on a healthy University of Idaho. A healthy university relies on recruiting and retaining students. And students rely, in part, on something Moscow needs to provide -- more part-time jobs.

That was the message from Henry Robison, spokesman for Economic Modeling Specialists of Moscow, during a forum here Friday sponsored by the Greater Moscow Alliance.

Part-time jobs, combined with better sports and improved off-campus social venues, said Robison, will go a long way toward attracting and keeping students at UI.

"If we lose 1,000 students, in the long run we can expect to lose about 800 jobs," Robison said.

So nobody can afford Moscow getting a reputation of being "a great place to live and learn, but you can't find a job," Robison said.

UI President Tim White agreed. "It's a way to partially fund education," he said, adding that part-time work also gives students a sense of belonging to a community.

Robison said Moscow should continue to court elite industries that attract educated people. High-end employers, he said, translate into vibrant economies with less crime and less impact on social services. But he said less-elite industries are needed in towns like Moscow to provide the kind of work students want and need to continue their education.
How much more so does this apply to Washington State University and Pullman? We have about 6,000 more students and way fewer part-time job opportunities than UI and Moscow.

I'll quote Ed 3:16 again:
[Schweitzer] recommended taxpayer money, in government incentives, not be put toward "elephant hunting," or seeking only big business, but that zoning be open to all business.

"It would be a big mistake if we were not to welcome a barbershop as well as a plane manufacturer," Schweitzer said. "If (Whitman County) does that, they will come."

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