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Published: Friday, 2/9/2007

Konop visits high school for answers to brain drain

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop talks to seniors at Toledo Christian School as part of a 2-week tour gathering input from area high school seniors. Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop talks to seniors at Toledo Christian School as part of a 2-week tour gathering input from area high school seniors.
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Adam Yunker s plan for the future involves a degree in business and sports management so that maybe, one day he ll find a job as the manager of a sports team.

That s why when Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop spoke to Adam s senior-year economics class at Toledo Christian School yesterday about what the Toledo area has to offer young professionals, Mr. Yunker paid specific attention to the creation of a new multipurpose arena, which is expected to house both minor league hockey and arena football.

In an effort to gather input from 12th graders about what they want in a community, Mr. Konop started a two-week tour of Toledo area high schools yesterday.

Calling it a Brain DrainTour, Mr. Konop said he wants to know what government can do to retain young people in the area.

I think it s helpful that he s asking us for help and that he wants to hear what we want, said Mr. Yunker, 18. If they implement some things, it may help.

Mr. Konop, who campaigned in the fall on the notion that Lucas County must focus more on technology-based jobs, planned to visit Central Catholic High School today.

He plans to also visit classes at Toledo Public s Rogers, Scott, and Woodward high schools as well as Sylvania s Northview High School, St. Ursula Academy, Ottawa Hills High School, and St. Francis de Sales High School.

He told students yesterday that one thing government could do to keep young professionals in the area is create a downtown environment.

He added that Toledo needs to move away from manufacturing-based jobs and toward a knowledge-based economy.

More and more, what s important for us is to have smart people. Then we can supply the world with knowledge-based goods, Mr. Konop told the students.

Government cannot create jobs. But what government can do is create a place where people want to do business.

Teacher Jim Kollar said he was pleased with the discourse between Mr. Konop and his students and hopes that some of the teenagers ideas make their way to Government Center.

Something as simple as a more viable public transit system suggested by one student could go a long way in changing attitudes about Toledo, he said.

I think the kids are trying to weigh everything and come up with a solution, he said. They are weighing what it is they want out of a place where they want to live.

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-724-6076.



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