a new government grant program that aims to build "tech hubs" in the middle of nowhere is littered with political patronage, dei tomfoolery, and self-erected barriers to success
Humans will always innovate on new ways to grift and steal. DIE and ESG are just the latest con.
A chunk of that money will end up in someone's pockey.
The DOS and USAID already do these exact kind of tech hub projects in Africa and the money mostly gets embezzled by NGOs and by Americans involved. You should look into that for comparison.
So, basically, what a grant winning business plan would look like is for an applicant to find 15-20 high-school drop outs (disadvantaged) of a certain demographic (poor) that cannot speak English fluently (minority) that (somehow) can fluently code in C++, XML, and create LLMs for AI.
Sounds like a way to build a building, hire a bunch of unqualified people, and give them checks to stand around until the money runs out. Hidden reparations is what it is..
A significant percentage of your readers are wearing what we call "readers" to be able to read your offerings without causing a headache.
Granted, there might be a majority of your audience who are under 50 or 60 years old.
For some reason not obvious to us old timers, you and so many other Substack authors trying to get us to read the tiny text on our cell phones by down loading the Substack Android program rather than offering to read your missives in our favorite browses that have so much more customization.
Maybe they can make 155mm shells.
In China, entrepreneurs have built entire concrete cities, and they're still waiting for people to move in...
We're going to witness plenty of "innovation" in grant applications. And that innovation will be proportionate to the innovation we saw in the grant writing.
After WW2, there were plenty of men from the Mississippi Delta who moved up north to work in factories in the large urban centers like Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland. However, there was one key factor that worked in their favor: The jobs were easy to learn by almost anyone with a pulse. These goals that the grant-writers have will, in their collective minds, see the same type of urban migration to their gentrified tech cities. But since they're searching for members of under-served communities to work in these places, what will they get? These are the same people who yap about people not being able to work tech jobs, yet they want to insert them into those types of jobs?
When it comes to government trying to implement these ideas, four words come to mind:
You can't fix stupid.
This is a bad use of taxpayer funds. One note... if you read some of the articles discussing funding these "initiatives", it seems skills-based recruiting is an emphasis. You might consider that the below is just a TERRIBLY written sentence (believable from a federal bureaucrat), in which the "skills-based" clause modifies "hiring and employment practices".
"Partnerships with organizations that support employer adoption of hiring and employment practices that tap into the talents of existing workers and remove barriers to good jobs, such as skills-based recruitment and hiring practices."
Good analysis and I don't anticipate this resulting in a single, sustainable business. I do wonder if there is a worthwhile and very different plan where government funds could lightly subsidize coding apprenticeships (or just organize a framework for how apprenticeships could work) for people who have been through coding bootcamps. For many types of programming, I think it would help for us to view them as one of the trades, albeit with more mental than physical labor. And as a trade, apprenticeships would be a natural fit. (Programmer with 8 years of experience here.)
There seems to be a gap in the pipeline between people who have learned the basic skills and companies who require 3 years of work experience. Some kind of apprenticeship program with an obligation to not leave the company for 3 years could help. (I'm just spitballing.) Other industries have apprenticeships for this same reason; they need to develop talent.
Our economy would arguably be better off with more programming talent, but no company is incentivized to invest in entry-level employees because they can always leave. The lack of private incentives while a broad need for the thing exists is typically where government intervention is beneficial (though of course can still be hamfisted).
BTW it’s Scotts-Irish not “Scotch Irish”.
Scotch is a drink, the Scotts are a people.
Apologies for my pedantry.
As Matthew Ridley explained, innovation happens in large metro areas with network effects where you can access academia, manufacturing, and other tech companies in one location. There are great places outside the Bay Area for innovation like the Texas triangle. But small rural towns are not going to become tech hubs, you'd think that would be obvious.
Excellent work and writing River. Read the lede aloud to my wife and laughed out loud at the close.