Where are all the jobs? That’s a question everyone is asking these days, especially if you’re one of the jobless here in Orange County.

Don’t give up hope! There may be light at the end of the tunnel.  The town of Chapel Hill has announced it is forming a partnership with UNC, Orange County and a marketing firm with the unlikely name of 3 Birds to establish a small business incubator downtown.  The idea being to create businesses and spawn jobs. Space is being subleased at 321 Rosemary Street to house the incubator, the first joint venture of its kind in Chapel Hill.

But it comes with a hefty price tag, and we the taxpayers will have to pay for it. The town will invest $80,000 a year in the venture, Orange County $40,000 and 3 Birds, $20,000.  In addition, the town will surrender 29 scarce parking spaces downtown reserved exclusively for 3 Birds employees. In exchange, 3 Birds will take the aspiring entrepreneurs under its wing, offering mentoring and guidance. But the most promising thing about this deal is that 3 Birds has guaranteed to bring 80 new full-time jobs to Chapel Hill by the year 2014, and more importantly, hiring all of the personnel locally.

Now, if 3 Birds can deliver those jobs, that could make the partnership all worthwhile.  No doubt the town will face harsh criticism for wasting taxpayers’ money on a big gamble. But if UNC can give us promising entrepreneurs in the mold of a Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, then there could be nothing but Carolina Blue Skies ahead for Chapel Hill.

And more jobs than we could ever dream existed.

Listen to Walt Mack’s Commentator’s piece in his own voice here:

What do YOU think about 3 Birds and the local job market? Let us know in the comments below!