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Chicago makes Amazon cut – but could the city’s workforce meet the demands?




CHICAGO – Chicago made the list of 20 finalists where Amazon could build their next headquarters, the company announced Thursday. The winning city could get up to 50,000 high-paying jobs and $5 billion in investment. 

Amazon's criteria includes the site being a metropolitan area with a population greater than one million and the ability to attract and keep strong technical talent. 

The other metro areas making the cut are: Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Miami; Montgomery County, Md.; Nashville; Newark, N.J.; New York City; Northern Virginia; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Raleigh, N.C.; Toronto; Washington D.C.

“We are delighted to be among the competitors in the next stage of Amazon’s HQ2 search,” Rauner said in a statement. “We are ready to show the company why we believe the Chicago area is their best option.”

Mayor Emanuel was also delighted with the news. He's trying to lure the company to Chicago with a $2.5 billion incentive package – a possibly more if Amazon were to pick as their site the Thompson Building or the now-closed Michael Reese Hospital. 

But not everyone is so excited about Amazon coming to Chicago. The transportation system would be overloaded with 50,000 more on an already overworked Metra system, one Metra board member said at a recent forum at the Technology & Manufacturing Association in Schaumburg.

And the Chicago education system has failed many that would be excellent workforce prospects, two manufacturers said. 

Between those factors, Amazon would put quite a burden on an already creaking system, they said. 


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