Four local colleges and universities have pledged to partner with Amazon as part of a regional effort to try to convince the company to build its second headquarters in southwest Ohio, according to documents obtained by the Dayton Daily News.
The presidents of the University of Dayton, Wright State University, Sinclair College and Clark State Community College signed a letter to Amazon president and CEO Jeff Bezos in support of the region’s bid for the company’s anticipated $5 billion investment.
Amazon today announced it received 238 proposals from cities, jurisdictions and others from across North America that want the online retailer’s second home, called HQ2.
The letter from the four schools says the Dayton region has 23 colleges and universities, including “some of the best” in the world.
Sinclair, Clark State, UD and WSU collaborate to benefit the region through education, training and workforce development programs, according to the letter.
More than 90 percent of the Dayton region’s largest employers work with educational institutions to develop their current and future workforces, and other important partners include Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the Southern Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE) and Ohio Department of Higher Education, the letter states.
In 2015 to 2016, SOCHE placed more than 15,000 students in internships across the region.
“Together, we partner with top thought leaders worldwide to provide innovative, world-class education to senior executives, emerging thought leaders and front-line supervisors and professionals,” the letter reads. “We absolutely pledge to do the same for Amazon.”
Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein said the city was part of a regional project proposal led by the Dayton Development Coalition, and the city collaborated with Cincinnati by sharing data that she says highlights the strengths of the combined cities.
But Dayton Development Coalition President and CEO Jeff Hoagland sent a letter to the coalition’s board of trustees earlier this month clarifying that Dayton and Cincinnati did not submit a joint proposal, according to a copy of the correspondence obtained by this newspaper.
He said the mayors of Dayton and Cincinnati discussed the possibility of a joint proposal, but development leaders ultimately decided to submit separate proposals for each region, though they did work collaboratively.
Hoagland said the Dayton region’s proposal notes Dayton’s position as the mid-point between Cincinnati and Columbus and the “rich resources” the three markets offer.