WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

Will city gauge Gig East business incubator’s results?

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I’m very proud to see Wilson rebranding the Innovation Hub into the Gig East Hub. This effort made by a $1.1 million grant from the tobacco industry “guilt money” Golden Leaf Foundation, and $1.6 million from the taxpayers of Wilson. Seems like the city of Wilson often spends over a million bucks like it’s a $100 bill.

I wish the explanation of the need for, function of and goals for this hub was explained in plain English so we would better understand what it’s really going to do to benefit the existing and future workforce in our area. It would also be reassuring if the original Innovation Hub’s results versus investment would be measured and quantified.

I don’t deny the critical need for investment in technological advancements. Our country is falling further and further behind countries like China, whose world share of global technology exports have grown from 3 percent in 1999 to 26 percent in 2014, while those exports from the United States have fallen from 18 percent to 7 percent in the same period.

What this means is America can’t build military aircraft without Chinese microchips. China produces four times as many science, technology, engineering, and mathematics Ph.D’s as the United States.

The single most troublesome deficiency we have in the U.S. is not the industrial base, but the lack of scientific and engineering education. Six to 7 percent of U.S. college students major in engineering, while in China that number is 30-40 percent.

So what is the Gig City’s Gig East Hub going to do to remedy this most major issue facing our country’s future? Will we measure and publicize the actual results from this latest iteration of our “innovation effort” investment, or just rebrand it in a few years?

We need to not only innovate, but train and educate our workforce to save this country from becoming an also-ran in the world economy. That would not be pretty to see.

Lee Gardner

Wilson

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