If Cleveland and similarly-situated cities in the U.S. were permitted to seek licensure as a “high skill immigration zone,” technology companies from all over the U.S. (and possibly the world) would consider in a heartbeat to co-locate in the zone: creating new jobs, innovation, tax dollars, etc., if it would ensure their freedom to hire international talent as it wishes. An influx of companies and immigrant tech workers would create a critical mass, and cluster of tech activity, that would begin to organically grow and create new businesses and jobs for American-born.
However, we Rust Belt bloggers could adopt other ventures given the generic interest in collaboration among the social media experts and the rest of us dilettantes. First, we should settle on the geographic scope of the project. I still think Erie is a great place to meet, but other shrinking cities outside of our industrial heartland might want to join the cause, whatever that cause may be. The links between Cleveland, Youngstown, Erie, and Pittsburgh are relatively well established. I think Buffalo is a good fit with this group, but I have a number of ties to Upstate New York.
Another consideration is the benefit for your city of the kind of immigration policy I'd like to advance. I'm confident that Pittsburgh would receive a substantial economic shot in the arm given the existing talent clusters and excellent sources of human capital (e.g. CMU). I'm curious as to what other bloggers think about Mr. Herman's proposal. And if not high skill immigration zones, what else should we do?