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Weekend edition February 18, 2022 | Kailyn Lamb

New report analyzes how America’s Heartland impacts talent

Heartland Forward, a Bentonville, AR-based think tank, has issued a new report that was co-authored by Richard Florida, a writer and journalist who penned several global best sellers, including the award winning The Rise of the Creative Class and his most recent book, The New Urban Crisis.

Titled “Heartland of Talent: How Heartland Metropolitans Are Changing the Map of Talent in the U.S.,” the report analyzes more than 350 metropolitan areas with a particular focus on the 166 that span the 20 states that comprise America’s heartland.

“While coastal superstar cities like San Francisco, Washington, DC, and New York City and leading tech hubs like San Jose and Boston remain talent centers, heartland metros like Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Cleveland and Cincinnati; heartland college towns like Ann Arbor, Madison, Iowa City and Fayetteville, Arkansas; and older industrial metros outside the heartland metros like Pittsburgh have all seen significant improvement in both their shares of both college grads and the creative class,” according to this summary.

The report includes data on nine metro areas in Tennessee. In addition to the four major ones (Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville), the other five are Cleveland, Jackson, Johnson City, Kingsport, and Morristown. There is data for each on educational attainment and  creative class employment.

Heartland Forward describes itself as “the only think and do tank dedicated to improving economic performance in America’s Heartland.” It was launched in October 2019 with significant backing by the Walton family of Walmart fame.

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