New Report Underscores the Importance of
Stark County is on the verge of a transformation, and the choice is ours to determine our future. - Strengthening Stark
The decision by Amazon as to where to locate its $5 billion-dollar second headquarters (HQ2) along with an estimated 50,000 jobs was widely seen as one of the greatest economic development prizes in history. Over 200 cities presented proposals, and though early contender Cleveland was eliminated, Pittsburgh and Columbus were among 20 finalists. The decision to eventually split HQ2 between Arlington, Virginia and New York City
made one thing abundantly clear, it was the presence of regional high-tech talent that was the tipping point. As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said, "These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come."
Why is inventing important? While, many people think of Amazon as on-line ordering, the company is rapidly spreading into entertainment, health care, cloud computing, robotics and artificial intelligence. In many ways it best exemplifies a finding in the World Economic Forum's report, The Future of Jobs 2018
, recently shared at a meeting of the Strengthening Stark Governance Committee
That finding suggests that any effort to transition workforces to meet the challenges of a new world of work needs to consider that while jobs will be lost due to automation or redundancy, far more jobs will be created by "large-scale growth in new products and services-and associated new tasks and jobs-generated by the adoption of new technologies and other socio-economic developments."
The Future of Jobs Report
further suggests this will lead to a re-skilling imperative for communities, their education institutions and businesses. This is why Strengthening Stark
's call for a shared economic development plan for the community is critical. As the 2017 Strengthening Stark
report commissioned by the Stark Community Foundation
says, "Preparing job seekers to fill open positions today, as well as making sure our education and training efforts are preparing residents for the jobs of the future, is essential to achieving the economic transformation we seek. A job creation plan cannot be successful unless companies have ready access to the talent needed to fill those jobs."
 A Center for Excellence will additionally be created in Nashville.
 The Future of Jobs 2018, p. viii
 Strengthening Stark: A Call for Economic Transformation,
 As quoted in: A phone call at Wendy's meant half of Amazon's new headquarters and an economic triumph for Virginia. The Washington Post, November 14, 2018.