In Opinion

By Brent Grening, CEO

Covid-19, social unrest, high-unemployment, economic recession – it’s
a lot to take in. How long recovery will take, and what normal will be is
difficult, if not impossible to know.

Recovery – getting back to stable, manageable, normal levels of uncertainty
– is slowly getting underway. Moving forward, we need to learn all
we can about working through disrupted times. The better we as individuals,
businesses and communities manage this situation, the better prepared
we’ll be to deal with future shocks to the system.

Not to compound today’s issues with fear of future problems, but workplace
automation is threatening to displace workers previously considered
immune from automation. The rise of coronavirus is accelerating the pace
of business automation. Even if we could recover the jobs lost, automation
may soon displace many workers again.

The Port of Ridgefield was created to ensure jobs and a healthy economy
for the community. In times of rapid change and multiple if not cascading
stressors to economic and social systems, classic economic development
practices are not good enough. A good supply of industrial land and basic
infrastructure are still important, but new ways of working, new technologies
and new companies, need different kinds of economic support.

A multi-pronged approach is needed to keep businesses and workers
innovative and competitive. The pace of change is increasing, so businesses,
workers and communities must be agile and adapt to change. The Port
is working to facilitate a collaborative approach to business innovation and
advance worker training. The future is hard to predict but as always, those
who respond quickly to change have the best chances of success – and
working together is the best way to get moving forward again.

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