Reuters reports that Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has a major task on his hands: Revitalizing an entire city whose population dwindled from 1.8 million in the 1950s to 700,000 this decade and better train an unskilled workforce.
President Barack Obama had said he was keeping an eye out for the city, but the bankruptcy news were met with silence by his administration and the media failed to note this development.
In the words of Lindsay Chalmers, vice president of the non-profit Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, “Every problem in this city revolves around jobs…that’s at the heart of the issue for Detroit.”
Manufacturing jobs have fled the city and now unskilled workers, who expected to make it through high school then go into a blue-collar job where they received basic training, are a majority in the jobless city.
The decline of manufacturing jobs, above all in the automotive industry, has played a major role in the slide of the Motor City’s population to 700,000 from a peak of 1.8 million in the 1950s. Despite recent gains, Michigan has 350,000 fewer manufacturing jobs than in 2000.
There are questions whether Detroit can prepare the large amounts of unskilled workers for potentially high-skilled jobs that some expect to come.