"A rising tide lifts all boats,” President John F. Kennedy famously said in 1963.

It wasn’t an original quote.  Speech writer Ted Sorensen borrowed it from the New England Council, a regional chamber of commerce that used it as a slogan.

We hope it applies to west Highland.

As today’s Highland Community News centerpiece explains, the west side has several major projects just getting started that could boost the economy significantly in the next several years. The new air cargo logistics center at the airport, the wastewater treatment center and the new San Manuel hotel all should raise the economic tide.

The regional economy continues to appear strong, although the Highland unemployment rate crept up from 3.4 percent to 4.6 percent between the past two monthly reports. The UCR Business Activity Report shows an increase of 2.6 percent in the Inland Empire in the second quarter of 2018.

With all this promising news, we surveyed local economists on whether that will raise income levels in the impoverished areas of west Highland. All three who responded: Only if the new employees are local. Highland Community Development Director Larry Mainez makes the case that housing is cheaper here, it’s a good place to raise a family.

If our new workers are commuters, that clogs our freeways more and further fowls the air. And it would deliver the benefits to distant cities.

Fortunately, we’re seeing a stronger emphasis on vocational education in our schools. On Monday, San Bernardino Valley College announced a $1.2 million investment in its Strong Workforce Program to purchase new equipment and hire additional instructors in specialized fields

This fits in with the ideas of East Valley Water District General Manager and CEO John Mura, who wants the Sterling Natural Resources Center to foster programs that would help students earn state certificates to land decent jobs. And the REAL Journeys Academies schools, also in west Highland, should become a pipeline to fill those jobs.

We urge the Highland City Council, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, state legislators, regional agencies and schools to make sure most of these jobs go to local residents.

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