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Convincing Tech Companies to Invest Locally


Article from ADMIN 76/2023
Investing locally has far-reaching positive effects. Just ask your grandparents.

I've had a long and interesting career in technology. I've worked as a system administrator, developer, tech writer, instructor, database administrator, and consultant. Many of these positions were held simultaneously with my freelance writing career and various day job roles. I've been in the trenches for a long time, lived the dream at Red Hat, and have run the gamut of desirable and undesirable jobs. My career isn't over yet, and I feel I have a few more things to accomplish as a seasoned technology professional. One of the main things I want to accomplish is to promote the idea of producing a new generation of technology professionals. To do this, I must take on tech.

The technology field isn't necessarily kind to employees. If you follow this column, I don't need to repeat my opinions about the abuses that tech folks often endure. The tech field is not for the faint of heart or thin-skinned. I'm addressing this issue from my position as an American, but wherever you live, you might be able to identify with this issue in your national environment.

Companies should invest in producing a new generation of technology professionals. Corporations want to make big money from the local economy, but all too often, they don't do enough to support the local community. Outsourcing development and IT services might have a marginal benefit in the short term, but in the long run, the company misses the chance to nurture the next generation of indigenous professionals who will one day support the local high-tech ecosystem.

However, this post isn't solely focused on offshoring but is a plea for all companies to invest in local communities, workers, and futures. Rather than sending money thousands of miles away to build infrastructure, train workers, and create "tech centers," why not spend the money locally for the same purpose?

Remember your grandparent's stories of how everyone in town worked in the local factory? Many people entered the workforce at 18 and retired at the same company – 30 or 40 years later. The factory was the town. The worker community was close-knit, pro-factory, and loyal. The company was also loyal to the employees. It worked.

I challenge all companies to employ people at home to develop applications, support infrastructure, and answer those calls. Investing at home provides jobs, a solid tax base, and product and service consumption. Every job lost affects five other jobs. When a person loses their job, they might stop going out to eat or using standard services such as cable and taxi, and they might decrease the amount they tip workers who depend on tips to supplement their incomes. Job loss hurts everyone.

Do you remember what happened when those factories closed where people worked for generations? The supporting businesses closed, people moved away, and the towns died off, often leaving poverty where a thriving community once stood. Company executives seeking cheaper resources make "tough" decisions that devastate hundreds or thousands of families faithful to their employers. Sure, companies are in business to make a profit, but hopefully, they're also in business to develop brand loyalty, generational buyers, and a partnership with the towns they occupy.

It is essential to remember how significant it is to use local resources whenever possible. Let's take on tech and require them to invest locally. My new slogan is "Sow local. Grow local." I hope it catches on.

Ken Hess * ADMIN Senior Editor

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