Friday, March 31, 2006

what gets lost in the current discussion about delphi

Sure it is a terrible prospect that thousands of production and union employees in the Mahoning Valley are facing employment woes. I think another component that is not being talked about, at least in the media, is the loss of high-wage engineering jobs and management positions if Delphi goes under.

By some measures, Delphi is the largest individual contributor to the knowledge-based economy of the Youngstown-Warren region by a long shot. Consider the following list of the largest patent-producing companies that created intellectual property in the Mahoning Valley so far this decade:

82 patents - Delphi Corp.
19 patents - General Motors Corp.
12 patents - Keystone Ridge Design

source:, patents affiliated with the Mahoning Valley from 2000 to 2004

Is it true that Delphi is the region's largest employer of engineers as well? Regardless, white-collar employees working in the Mahoning Valley are leaving Delphi in droves, either by early retirement, relocation to other Delphi facilities, quitting, or simply being released. This week's business journal reported a story of salaried workers being escorted to the door at the local General Motors plant after their dismissal.

Some of the engineers that will be released will move to other areas which is extremely unfortunate, and a loss to this region. Others may choose to retire and stay here. But is there a way to harness these peoples' knowledge before they consider leaving or quit working? They know the industry, and they may have ideas for new companies and new entreprenurial ventures.

It would be a great exercise for this community to pool the recently unemployed and the soon-to-be unemployed workers together, from BOTH the salaried AND hourly Delphi and GM employees to see if they have any ideas for future business opportunites that can be located here in the Valley.

No comments: