By Dr. Allen Selis ‐ October 19, 2017
Today Amazon received proposals from dozens of N. American cities competing to host their new corporate office. What's at stake? Plenty! Amazon will spend an estimated five billion dollars to build facilities. The new center will employ 50,000 people earning a total of five billion dollars per year. Dallas and Frisco are aggressively bidding for the site and the chance to add $5B a year to the North Texas economy.
So how will Amazon decide? Amazon wants affordable housing, an airport, a good quality of living, generous tax incentives and a highly trained work force. I'm fascinated by this list. While housing costs, geography and regional culture are hard to change, tax breaks can be voted speedily if a community wished. That leaves workforce: Just how does a city gather enough trained coders, programmers and engineers to staff a world class company like Amazon?
CBRE recently published a list ranking American cities by the quality of tech talent in the work force. The results were telling. The cities that invested the most in education dominated the top of the list. While most people think about colleges and universities as the place to create a competitive workforce, we know the challenge starts much younger.
We firmly believe that effective K-12 STEM education is the only way to provide the talent that energizes communities and changes lives. At Tech Edventures, we know that kids enjoy learning engineering and coding skills. In addition to having fun our kids are reserving their place in a global economy that moves quickly and prizes innovation. While we love to teach coding because it's challenging and creative, we also recognize that our kids (and community) gain huge economic advantages by learning tech skills. Just how big an advantage? Apparently $5B a year.
Educators, mayors and parents, take note! Amazon is not the first and won't be the last company that makes life changing decisions based upon how well we have taught our children. Plan accordingly, and teach your kids well.
Dr. Allen Selis is the founder of Tech EdVentures, a Dallas based startup that teaches engineering and coding skills for children from Kindergarten through 8th grade. You can reach him at Allen@techedventures.com or @TechEdv on Twitter. You can also learn more about coding and engineering curriculum for schools at STEM Crafters!