Colorado digs deep for data to support Amazon bid, and one number comes up short

State and local economic development officials had asked developers and communities interested in hosting Amazon’s second headquarters to detail everything from the drive time to Denver International Airport to cellphone coverage and transit options.

They had also scrambled to prove that colleges and universities in the region could provide Amazon with enough business and computer science graduates for the up to 50,000 positions the company could seek — while, in the process, revealing a weak spot in the state’s pitch.

Those are some of the additional details found in nearly 600 pages of emails and reports that the Colorado Office of Economic Development released Monday night and Tuesday. They represented the second installment — the first was released last week — under an open-records request from The Denver Post and Denver7.

A matrix that the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. sent out to those interested in hosting the Amazon campus asked for the usual details such as location, square footage and room for future expansion. But it also requested maps of infrastructure, fiber connectivity, cellphone coverage, nearby transit options, and information on sustainability programs and the permitting process.

The sites offered were whittled down to the eight best options, which were presented in the final proposal, which was submitted to the Seattle e-commerce company Oct. 18.

The emails show a scramble to get statistics, with the help of economic modeling firm EMSI, on how many business and computer science graduates the region provides each year.

The number of people who completed a computer science program in the Denver-Boulder area last year was only 453, the EMSI analysis showed. While it was a significant improvement from the 245 who did so in 2012, it showed the region would need to rely heavily on computer science graduates from elsewhere to supply Amazon.

And of those who …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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