Sunday, January 27, 2008

Pittsburgh Promise Geography

A blog post at Brewed Fresh Daily is the first crumb leading me to an article about the value of the Kalamazoo Promise (the model for the Pittsburgh Promise):

In 2004, a billion-dollar contract to design and produce hydraulic systems for Boeing's new Dreamliner went to Parker Hydraulics. That contract has gradually grown to $2 billion. In those four years, the company has boosted its employment from approximately 500 to 605.

Parker Hydraulics program manager Rod Taft said last week he didn't know how many additional jobs the Airbus contract would mean for Kalamazoo. But the contract is a boon to both Kalamazoo and the ailing Michigan economy.

Last year, Taft said the Boeing contract would provide security for the company for the next 20 years.

The kinds of jobs that the two contracts will help create in Kalamazoo are just the type that are most needed here and statewide. They require people with high levels of education and skills. They pay well.

And Parker Hydraulic, which recruits employees nationally, has found it easier to recruit in-demand employees to Kalamazoo, thanks to The Kalamazoo Promise.

To the cynics complaining about the motives of UPMC funding the Pittsburgh Promise, you don't understand how difficult attracting the right talent can be. The payoff for either city's promise is measured in terms of increased enrollments for public city schools. What is the local return on investment in human capital? If the policy works, then in-migration will improve.

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