What Happened to Worcester?


The New York Times Magazine has the article What Happened to Worcester?  This is a very interesting story woven around the history of one family in Worcester to demonstrate the social and economic history of this country. Here are a couple of paragraphs from the article that exemplify the range that this story covers.

But long gone are the days when Worcester’s plants offered a decent job to just about anybody willing to put in a hard day’s work. New employees looking to join the middle class must have not just a high-school diploma but an associate degree, if not a bachelor’s degree.

For all its decline in the second half of the 20th century, Worcester did enjoy one bit of good fortune: In the 1960s, the University of Massachusetts placed its medical school in the city. The school, which continued to grow, brought several generations’ worth of high-paying medical jobs and a fair number of lower-paying support positions. Similarly, Worcester’s position close to the center of New England has been good for the transportation business. Many of my relatives who stayed in town have worked either in the medical center as nurses or in the transportation field as truck drivers, dispatchers, rail-yard inspectors. These are solid, stable jobs, but they don’t enable the kind of jump-up in socioeconomic status that my family experienced many decades ago.

Now that we live much closer to Worcester than we’d ever had before and I’ve established some ties with people there, I can appreciate this story more.

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