As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado.
Anybody wanna see second prize? Second prize's a set of steak knives.
Third prize is you're fired.
-Blake (played by Alec Baldwin) in Glengarry Glen Ross
By now, you know that Amazon is holding a giant RFP/Bake-Off/Contest pitting 20 finalist cities (down from 200+ that originally applied) to determine where a 2nd Headquarters for the company will be located. The process, deemed "HQ2," solicited bids from cities for where Amazon will spend an estimated $5 billion build a new, second headquarters for 50,000 employees/new jobs.
What you may not know is that Apple announced a similar, less ambitious initiative that may be the prize your city really wants. Here's the rundown from various reports:
"Apple announced on Wednesday, among other initiatives, that it plans to build a new campus in the United States, as part of an effort to hire 20,000 new Apple employees over the next five years.
Where will the new campus go? Apple said only that it will be announced later this year, and declined to comment if it already had a location in mind.
While Amazon openly invited a bidding war, with hundreds of municipalities whose officials prepared packages of tax breaks and other perks for the tech company, Apple didn't comment on whether it was soliciting bids or planned to have municipalities compete for the new campus.
It's not Apple's style to do a public contest — but given that Amazon received 238 different bids from cities, it's safe to say that there are some economic development agencies putting together packages for Cook and Apple.
Apple's new campus won't be its "second campus" and is unlikely to rival its current headquarters, at 1 Infinite Loop, or its new $5 billion headquarters, Apple Park, both in Cupertino, California.
The jobs available at this new campus are unlikely to be high-skilled programming jobs making the next iPhone that come with huge salaries often found in California. Apple likes to do its engineering and design close to home in California, both for reasons of security as well as work culture.
As Apple noted in its announcement, the new campus will initially house "technical support for customers." Much of that work is currently done in Austin, Texas, as reported by the New York Times in late 2016."
Here's an example of the kind of tech support work that could take place at the new campus:
"During the recent visit, Stephanie Dumareille, a senior adviser on iOS issues who is fluent in English and Spanish, patiently answered questions from a customer who was worried about saving her résumé online and did not know whether she was using a Windows or a Mac computer."
Glassdoor estimates a $38,000 annual salary for technical support agents at Apple in Austin."
Is that close to what Amazon is proposing? No. But it might actually be the second prize your city wins where, upon reflection, your city is glad it didn't win the grand prize (Amazon).
The 20,000 jobs that Apple wants to bring to your city is likely to cost less per job from an incentive perspective and here's another big key - your current metropolitan workforce is much more capable of filling these jobs today than it is related to the Amazon HQ2 project.
Amazon's HQ2 impact is going be amazing. But most of the people in your city aren't going to benefit directly from it. When you think about the projected Apple jobs - let's say at a 38K annualized salary wage, with an opportunity to earn 50K via OT, bonus, commissions and a career path to higher levels - this project is likely to do more for those impacted by our changing economy that the Amazon project.
Can you teach a factory worker to take support calls for Apple? Not all of them - but some of them to be sure. Imagine the impact if Apple went into Detroit with this project and focused on workforce development in a variety of ways. It would be a huge win for Apple, but just as importantly, for Detroit.
Somebody's going to win the second prize in this economic development project and be happy they did.
Make the call, Detroit. Get your slides together, Cleveland. Go pitch Apple on how they can create a great American story by working with your city.