In recent times, the Black Country has come to be regarded by some as an economic backwater, with the decline of manufacturing in this country intrinsically linked to its misfor-tune.
Today, some parts of it are little more than a post industrial wasteland characterised by deprivation, poor housing, low economic performance and shabby shops.
That's not to completely write off the area - there are parts where the process of regeneration and re-invention is already up and running. And much of what makes the area unique - the wit and warmth of its people - remains intact.
But the process of re-invention needs to go much further if this once great region is to claim its rightful place in modern Britain.
Education is key to achieving this. There's no use spending billions of pounds on regeneration if the population does not have the skills to participate in or benefit from it.
Real, lasting regeneration will only take place if it is powered by the people. In order for that to happen they have to have the right skills. And in this day and age, it's not about bashing bits of metal together.
So the Government should be applauded for investing in the Black Country Challenge to raise attainment levels in schools. The initiative builds on a similar drive, we are told, that has proved successful in London.
It focuses on targeted intervention, more one-to-one tuition, providing expertise and good leadership. But there remain questions and cause for concern.
For a start, one wonders how ministers worked out that in order to achieve this it will cost £28 million? And how, exactly, will this large amount of public money be spent in forwarding the goals of the programme?
At the moment, all we are really told about is some vague pledges to make schools better led, provide more focused tuition and get good heads to pass on their expertise across the region.
With much of this one wonders why it should cost anything at all other than a bit of time and effort.
The other problem with Government initiatives like this is that it is difficult for the average punter on the street to get very excited about them as they speak more of the language of Whitehall than that of the people. If, instead, ministers tell us they're going to provide more teachers and smaller class sizes in these areas, it might just make more sense.