Dec 7, 2018

Silicon Valley rep tries to bring tech jobs to small-town Iowa

Rep. Ro Khanna. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for MoveOn.org

Rather than letting tech jobs head overseas, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) thinks he has a better idea: Send them to the Midwest. The Silicon Valley congressman is working with private industry as well as individual figures in tech to build out a job-training program in a small Iowa town.

The big picture: Both the public and lawmakers are paying increased attention to the disparities between tech hubs like Silicon Valley and Seattle, which have enjoyed massive economic booms, and the rest of the country.

Details: Khanna, whose district includes part of the area south of San Francisco, will travel to Iowa this week to help roll out the initiative, which is an attempt to create a pipeline between talent in Jefferson, Iowa, and an Accenture-owned software company called Pillar Technology (with offices in Michigan, Ohio, and Iowa as well as Palo Alto, Calif.).

  • Khanna said in an interview this week that he connected an executive at Pillar with people in tech, including Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott — who is donating some of his personal fortune to fund scholarships for students in Jefferson.
  • “In my view, if this works, if this can be seen as a Silicon Valley-rural partnership that creates jobs, economic opportunity, it is a win-win [and can be replicated] …you could really start to bring back a lot of the jobs that were outsourced and you can start to empower communities across America,” he said.
  • The event will involve representatives from Google as well as smaller firms, according to Khanna’s office.
  • The effort also includes public funding, according to the Des Moines Register.

Khanna has spent some of his first term visiting parts of the country that the tech-driven economic boom has left behind, including parts of West Virginia and Paintsville, Kentucky.

Yes, but: Most members of Congress focus on creating jobs in their own districts, not many states over. Khanna defends his work, saying his constituents will welcome it.

  • He said people in his district worry about how rapid growth in the Bay Area had increased home prices and ramped up traffic, and voters supported local candidates who share those concerns in the recent midterms.
  • “They would say our country is broken, we missed something big, the elites of this country missed something big,” Khanna said. “We need to bring people into the digital economy.”

Go deeper

Trump signs $2 trillion relief bill as U.S. coronavirus case count tops 100,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump signed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package on Friday, as infections in the U.S. topped 100,000 and more cities experience spikes of the novel coronavirus.

The big picture: The U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 8 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus updates: Italy records deadliest day with nearly 1,000 dead

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Italy on Friday reported 969 COVID-19 deaths over a 24-hour period, marking the deadliest single-day for the country since the global outbreak began, according to data from the Health Ministry.

The big picture: The U.S. now leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases, as the number of global cases nears 600,000. Governments around the world are trying to curb the medical and financial fallout of COVID-19, as infections surge across Europe and the U.S.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 8 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 595,800 — Total deaths: 27,324 — Total recoveries: 131,006.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 103,942 — Total deaths: 1,689 — Total recoveries: 870.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump signed the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill to provide businesses and U.S. workers economic relief.
  4. State updates: Nearly 92% of cities do not have adequate medical supplies — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month.
  5. World updates: Italy reported 969 coronavirus deaths on Friday, the country's deadliest day.
  6. Business latest: President Trump authorized the use of the Defense Production Act to direct General Motors to build ventilators for those affected by COVID-19. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro has been appointed to enforce the act.
  7. 🏰 1 Disney thing: Both Disney World and Disneyland theme parks in the U.S. are closed until further notice.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancing.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.