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Where does the time go?

The new year offers challenges and opportunities for the Greater Philadelphia region.
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I have always been fascinated with time.

Our five senses tell us time is linear — we are born, we live and grow old and we die. Yet I remember learning in school that Albert Einstein concluded in his later years that the past, present and future all exist simultaneously. That idea really blew my 12-year-old mind!

I raise this because I can’t believe it is the last week of 2016 and I think time is actually accelerating. This is what my mother meant when she said, “Where does the time go?”

Though I’m not always successful, I try and view the world through the lens of abundance. 2016 was an extraordinary year, but I’m hopeful 2017 will be even better. Here’s my list of To-Do’s for the new year for our nation, state, region, and city.

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Nation: Support our president-elect’s plan to pass an audacious infrastructure bill. This will not only ensure our roads, highways and bridges are in a state of good repair, but will modernize our ports, water and wastewater systems, telecom, tier I research institutions, CNG refueling stations, and even promote the use of driverless vehicles that could remake how our economy operates. The Greater Philadelphia region is well positioned to take advantage of this initiative - building upon our superb assets such as Septa, Philadelphia International Airport, and our ports.

State: Build a strong education system and a nimble and well-trained workforce, which is imperative to private sector success. We must invest in our citizens, providing high-skilled training and bridge what has been identified as a great divide between educators and employers so that we can align our labor supply with the market and where it is headed.

Region: Step up our efforts to work with all stakeholders in the 11-county Greater Philadelphia region to attract companies to locate and grow here. Select Greater Philadelphia Council highlights our unique business assets to national and global audiences with the ultimate goal of growing the economic vibrancy of our collective community through attracting new businesses and new jobs.

City: Lift up all citizens of Philadelphia. Our poverty rate of 26 percent is unacceptable. While Philadelphia is having a renaissance of sorts, we must do more to ensure no one is left behind. Efforts to provide quality Pre-K for all children, summer jobs for teens, business apprenticeships for young adults and ongoing education for adults are important steps to ensure inclusion for all Philadelphians. The Chamber’s Roadmap for Growth initiative is working with partners throughout Philadelphia’s neighborhoods on a shared agenda of growth and prosperity.

Another universally acclaimed thinker Mick Jagger wrote “Time is on our side” So I’m going to begin 2017 with gratefulness in my heart and a list of resolutions to accomplish to help lift up our country, Commonwealth and community.

Happy New Year.

Rob Wonderling is president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.

 
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