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Life without HQ2: How cities are dealing with Amazon’s rejection


Dreams of landing Amazon’s second headquarters and instant status as the next tech hub in America ended months ago for more than 200 cities around the country.

Cities like Detroit, Baltimore and Cleveland were left off Amazon’s list of 20 finalists for HQ2.

But many of the cities involved in the 238 bids Amazon received for its second headquarters and the $5 billion in investment and 50,000 jobs that could come with it didn’t let their dreams of transformation die with rejection.

The Wall Street Journal checked in with a few cities coping with not being on Amazon’s short list by moving forward.

“Post-Amazon, we’re now restructuring all of our workforce programs in the area,” Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, told the Wall Street Journal.

Cincinnati realized it needed to put its tech training programs “on steroids.” The Cincinnati Regional Chamber of Commerce refocused its high school apprentice program on information technology firms to help bolster the city’s homegrown talent, a critique of Amazon.

City leaders in Detroit hope voters will approve a transit plan now that Amazon said that is one reason why it wasn’t among the final 20. Missouri hired a consulting firm to develop a plan so it can better compete for the next big project.

“If we’re going to compete for the next HQ2 project out there, we know we’re going to have to fundamentally rethink our economy, and that’s what this is all about,” Rob Dixon, head of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, told the Wall Street Journal.

Pittsburgh is among the 20 finalists for Amazon’s second headquarters and is considered a front-runner among some analysts.

How will Pittsburgh move forward if it isn’t selected for Amazon’s HQ2 is a common question put to Mayor Bill Peduto, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and others involved with the bid for the second headquarters. They’ve been light on specifics — as they have been throughout the process — but have said that the work the team put together to woo Amazon won’t stop, be put on a self or thrown in the trash if the company decides to go in a different direction.

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PA Workforce Development Association