Sunday, May 25, 2008

Chattanoogaburgh Redux

Part II (I blogged about Part I) of the series about Chattanooga's transformation from Rust to Silicon is finally up:

In my previous article, I noted that one of the roadblocks on Chattanooga’s path to a high-tech future was “brain drain,” the tendency of graduates to leave home looking for better careers in other parts of the country. It turns out that the SimCenter is already playing a part in easing—and maybe even reversing—this problem.

The SimCenter is one of only two places in the country that offers a Ph.D. in computational engineering. This field, which uses computers to model and solve real world engineering problems, is one of the hottest fields in science at the moment. As a result, the SimCenter is drawing students to Chattanooga from all over the world.

Of course, you might think that a newly minted computational engineer would have to leave town to find work. Again, that’s not the case. The mere existence of the SimCenter has already brought several high-tech companies to town, and they are already competing to hire SimCenter graduates.

I don't know how big the SimCenter economic cluster could be, but I appreciate the uniqueness of the program. When I carry on about regional comparative advantage, I'm thinking about the SimCenter and the like.

I'm curious about similarly unique comparative advantages of each and every Rust Belt city. What can you do in Buffalo and only Buffalo?

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