Markle Foundation President and CEO Zoë Baird Writes About Where Amazon Should Build Their New Headquarters
Recent headlines have trumpeted the tax incentives being offered to Amazon in an effort to woo its new headquarters. As it eyes a home for HQ2, Amazon should focus less on tax incentives and instead choose a location where policymakers are committed to building a skills-based labor market that prepares workers for the digital economy.
History has shown that the quality of a skilled local workforce and a state’s support for constantly developing those skills is the most important factor for a company’s long-term success. But for Amazon, there’s a more important reason to focus on workforce development. By signaling to local governments that skills-focused policies will help them gain a competitive advantage in the future of work, Amazon has a rare opportunity to spark a national movement toward skills-based education and training initiatives.
he workforce challenges we face as a nation are clear. Over the past two decades, automation driven by digital technology has upended many of the jobs that once provided a foundation for comfortable middle class lives. For example, more than five million Americans have lost manufacturing jobs to technology since 2000, and our economy is especially struggling to provide a path forward for the two-thirds of Americans who don’t have a college degree. Currently, more than six million well-paying jobs remain unfilled. These in-demand jobs, such as wind turbine technicians, software developers and information security analysts, tend to require technical skills...