The New War Between the States

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DETROIT: You know somethingís going on when Ohio is sending a covert team to Detroit to gather counterintelligence against Michigan. Itís war. Having successfully rebuilt their economies for the high-tech 90's and brought unemployment to record lows, the two big industrial states are facing a potentially crippling shortage of the skilled workers they need to sustain the boom. Their strategy is right out of the Big Ten: recruiting. "Good Place to Raise a Family . . . Good Place to Live" is Michiganís theme for a five-week, $50,000 national ad campaign to attract out-of-staters -- even Ohesians -- to fill thousands of jobs paying $50,000 to $100,000. Ohio cities just across the state line are countering by touting their state's symphony and ballet. Some companies have started advertising abroad, particularly in former Soviet bloc countries where skilled labor is underpaid and underworked. Bottom line: unless schools start graduating more adequately-skilled students, the jobs are going to go to immigrants who can do the jobs better