Amazon has laid down the criteria that the location for its newest headquarters – HQ2 – needs to have in order to be named victor. While Greater Philadelphia meets every requirement, including being a metropolitan area with more than one million people and having space for an urban campus, it’s our region’s talent that allows Philadelphia to stand head and shoulders above other cities in the race.
With over 100 colleges and universities – including Jeff Bezos’ alma mater, Princeton University – the Greater Philadelphia region offers one of the most densely populated concentrations of higher education institutions in the world. Each year, our colleges and universities produce nearly 90,000 graduates. Combine this fact with almost 1,100 K through 12 schools, including award-winning STEM programs that are defining a new approach in primary education, and it’s no wonder that Greater Philadelphia provides one of the most diverse, creative, and highly educated labor pools in the world.
In fact, nearly 35 percent of our residents hold bachelor’s degrees or higher, compared with the national average of 29 percent, and our college graduate retention rate has grown rapidly in recent years to an all-time high of 65 percent. With just over 6 million residents, and a workforce of 3.1 million, Amazon will have access to talent here for their executive suite, innovation offices, and distribution centers.
In addition to education, Philadelphia’s millennial growth over the past decade is the highest of any of the nation’s 30 largest cities. The reason? No doubt it’s our world-class universities, favorable cost of living, outstanding transportation infrastructure, diversity, culture and more that have redefined Philadelphia as a fast-growing, dynamic, creative community that is attracting and retaining young and innovative residents every day.
We have a booming, diverse, and highly engaged startup ecosystem with growth in ed-tech, smart cities, fin-tech and more. In addition to Amazon, which already has multiple sites in this region, scores of the world’s leading companies call Greater Philadelphia home, including Vanguard, SAP, Comcast, and many more. These leaders create a clustering effect, and our community is home to numerous growing tech startups – including BioBots, Revzilla, and Curalate.
Of course, there would be other benefits of locating in Greater Philadelphia, such our east coast location, which is close to the European market and has access to 60 percent of the U.S. population within a two hour flight. On behalf of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and our city and region as a whole, I invite Amazon to come and experience our passion for innovation, commitment to operational excellence, and success in thinking big.
If you have specific suggestions and ideas, or an expertise to offer, please email the Chamber’s HQ2 team at: [email protected].