If you've been wondering why Fall River's economic engine has been stalled and why dreams of a long awaited economic resurgence have gone unfulfilled, Ken Fiola has the answer for you – the lack of educational attainment.
At least that's what I got from a sound-bite from Fiola, the executive vice president of the Fall River Office of Economic Development, which was recently on WSAR.
Gee, thanks for the info Ken, and while I agree that the educational attainment of Fall River residents and for that matter the quality of our school department have far reaching, long term impacts on our ability to revitalize our city it should not be the scapegoat for the lack of progress we have experienced.
The whole argument that Fall River does not have an enough of an educated workforce to lure the types of companies that would provide good paying jobs and serve as part of our economic engine is just illogical. This somehow assumes that a company moving to Fall River would rely solely on Fall River residents as employees. That is nonsense. Not only would such a company draw from Fall River residents, but it would also draw from residents of the surrounding communities. It would be interesting to count the number of cars driving through Fall River on their way to Boston or Providence and areas in between as people commute for the good paying jobs that THIS area lacks. I am certain that given the option these people would rather commute to Fall River, if only the opportunities existed.
And you don't need to live in the immediate area to appreciate the difference between commuting to Fall River vs. commuting to Boston. After two decades of driving toward Boston, Fall River's new treasurer, David Grab, cited the "cruise control" drive from his home in Middleboro as one things that interested him in the position. Doesn't it make sense that other people who have to commute on Route 24 would rather head south toward Fall River versus north toward gridlock?
Why haven't we been pushing this? Fall River is an easier commute yet is still conveniently located to greater Boston and the Providence area. Fall River is much more economical in terms of taxes and real estate. I've heard the commercials about how exciting the SouthCoast is. Never mind that. How about pushing Fall River as the city you can AFFORD to establish or grow you business in?
We as a city have not effectively marketed to our strengths, when we do that I'm convinced companies will come. With those companies will come better paying jobs and residual job opportunities that could serve our existing job base. This will also bring more investment in the way of shops and restaurants and will see more people moving into our community (which will help improve education).