CANONSBURG, PA. -- Thirty years ago, Jason Capps was a young man with ambition, but when he looked around this town near Pittsburgh, where he grew up, all he saw were opportunities slipping away. The coal mines where his father worked were dying; the glass, steel and manufacturing industries were on their last legs.
In 1987, when Capps graduated from high school, the unemployment rate was at a staggering 12%.
"My ability to carve out a future here was limited at best, impossible at worst," he said. "So I left."
Capps, 51, became a chef and traveled the country honing his skills. But then an...