Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Let's Recruit Gay Workers

In a column today in the Orlando Sentinel, Mike Thomas talks about the value of respecting diversity, particularly gays. Mike Thomas's column (needs registration) Orlando is in the bidding war for a new office of EA Entertainment, the makers of all those cool cutting edge video games. We're talking 775 jobs at $80,000 per year, and any city would want to have that. Thomas spelling out the irony of Orlando embracing gay culture:
If Electronics Arts moves here and finds the area is a successful lure for the creative workers it covets, then other companies that also rely on these workers will take notice. How ironic it would be if the gay presence here, despised by so many from "Old Orlando," led the transformation to a "New Orlando."

Electronics Arts holds the promise of 775 jobs paying $80,000 a year. Imagine if that's just the beginning.
The irony he points to is the furor over the years that springs from this relatively conservative town when events like Pride Week at Disney happen, or the public outrage at gay-friendly employers like the resort hotels and the theme parks and airlines. The economy has changed the attitudes of Floridians over the years at least around Orlando, to the point where this area is likely to be a big battleground in the coming election. It is encouraging to see that other industries besides travel and tourism are almost demanding localities that encourage diversity, even of sexual oreientation.

Thomas notes the research of Richard Florida of Carnegie Mellon, who has identified a segment of the population he calls the "creative class." Washington Monthly article about the Creative Class or Creative class dot org It all makes for fascinating reading. This Democrat, for one, is happy to see that the market for workers might be the most promising way to influence people on this issue than any number of protests.

I'm even more pleased because this is what I view as a trend, and the haters of the Republican right may be on their way out towards marginalization if this trend continues. Give it ten years.