Bravo to the Pitsco Idea Shop, a new and exciting collaboration between Pittsburg State University and Pitsco Education. This downtown project will encourage innovation in the Pittsburg community and should serve as an example for towns and cities across Kansas.


But what is the Idea Shop, exactly? According to The Pittsburg Morning Sun’s Jordan Meier, it "houses top of the line equipment like 3D printers, laser engravers, skill saws and more to help small businesses and entrepreneurs in the community make their dreams a reality."


That’s just what we need right now.


If the pandemic has taught us any deeper lessons, one of them must be that giant cities don’t necessarily hold the key to our nation’s future. Yes, they offer a density of creative people and resources, but the accompanying problems can be massive. Smaller communities can and should compete as hubs for innovation and talent.


With information now decentralized through the internet, there should be space for and creativity everywhere. It should flourish in states like Kansas and communities like Pittsburg.


Or as Gov. Laura Kelly put it: ″The Pitsco Idea shop is an excellent example of how our colleges and universities employ an energetic approach to public-private partnerships. It’s an approach that drives innovation among talented Kansas students, creates jobs and strengthens the local economies."


The governor makes an important point. While higher education is critical for preparing the next generation of business leaders, entrepreneurs, and staggeringly talented workers, business leaders can add crucial oomph. They’re able to show how ideas can be marketed and sold, and offer paths to advancement.


We have written frequently about the importance of keeping young and creative people in our state. Kansas faces an agonizing slog without them. Kansas faces decades of decline and dwindling resources without their brain power. But to ensure these vibrant, creative people stay, they must have real and tangible opportunities. Not just to live in diverse and welcoming communities supported by smart state investments — although that’s important — but also to develop their careers and ambitions.


In its own way, the Idea Shop offers just such an incubator.


It’s an exciting opportunity for growth. It’s not just an investment in Pittsburg and budding entrepreneurs. It’s an investment in the very future of Kansas.