More jobs are under our noses

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 27, 2003

Much of the news in Albert Lea lately has involved Premium Pork, a new cooperative that's looking for a place to set up shop and, they say, employ 1,000 people or more. Similarly, Ford Motor Company made headlines last year when it considered Albert Lea and Stewartville for a large regional warehouse. And elsewhere, airplane maker Boeing is now shopping around for a place to put a new plant, and dozens of states are falling all over themselves with offers to lure the company.

It could possibly add up as good news for our region, including here in Austin. In a depressed economy, more local jobs can only help.

It's probably natural that these high-profile courtships spring to mind when people think about economic development. A huge new plant with the promise of hundreds of jobs is the kind of instant gratification that gets noticed.

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But research shows that most job creation in any community will come not from the rare occasions when a new company builds a headquarters or a big-name corporation moves a plant to town. Rather, it will come from homegrown businesses that spring up or expand. It will come from local entrepreneurs who have local ties and who reinvest in the local economy.

That's why it's encouraging to see that Hormel Foods is interested in buying more property to expand its operations. Sometimes, we can become transfixed in trying to bring in more businesses when the possibility of more jobs are right under our noses.

In Hormel's case, let's hope local officials realize this.