Imagine a place where people, buses, trams and cars coexist in crowded squares, with cheap public transportation available for everyone to get to work. Where educational institutions work hand-in-hand with government and business to create outstanding outcomes for all, helping recent immigrants and longtime residents alike find their career paths and excel within them. Where brownfields are rapidly and efficiently turned into thriving neighborhoods. Where front-line union workers are actively engaged to chart the course of workforce training and investments. This magical place exists, and it’s called Germany.
In July, the four of us participated in the American Council on Germany‘s “Transatlantic Cities of Tomorrow,” an exchange program sponsored by the German government in which economic development professionals from various cities — Youngstown, Pittsburgh and Cleveland on this side; Dortmund and Darmstadt on the German side — meet, discuss issues and challenges resulting from digitalization in their communities, and learn from one another.