Small Towns Make Sales Pitches to Tech Pros

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Perhaps inspired by the example of Northrop-Grumman, which is establishing software development facilities in towns like Corsicana, Texas, instead of offshoring development, some rural U.S. regions are creating recruitment campaigns to lure tech professionals.


An Associated Press piece published on CNN relates the story of software engineers Keith and Julia Brown, who chose to relocate to southwest Virginia, where Keith grew up, instead of taking a job assignment in upstate New York.


They learned about available tech opportunities through Return to Roots, a recruitment program funded by the Virginia Tobacco Commission and private grants. The group's Web site lists job openings in IT, engineering, education and health care. In addition to its own site, the group also has a presence on Facebook and MySpace.


South Dakota, Vermont and Iowa are among states that host similar Web sites. Kansas plans to expand a program that targets bioscience professionals to include other white-collar jobs.


Among the positives for the Browns: less traffic and a slower pace than nearby Washington, D.C.; a pastoral setting where they can indulge their love of nature; and a low cost of living. Among the negatives: a lack of ethnic diversity and fewer arts-related activities than their previous home in Cincinnati.


Of course, attracting tech professionals isn't an economic cure-all. The resulting benefits of such migrations will take time. The construction of data centers by Microsoft, Intuit and Yahoo, didn't give the economy of Quincy, Wash., population 6,000, as much of a jump start as local officials had hoped.