Just days after online payment service PayPal announced that it was scrapping a $3.6-million, 400-job expansion in North Carolina, Cuyahoga County is inviting the company to come to Cleveland.
This comes amid controversy over a new law in the state that critics say discriminates against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
North Carolina has come under heavy criticism since Gov. Pat McCrory signed the law, requiring transgender people to use public bathrooms that match the sex on their birth certificates. The law, passed in response to a Charlotte ordinance that offered protections to gay and transgender people, also excludes sexual orientation and gender identity from the state's anti-discrimination law and bars local governments from expanding anti-discrimination rules.
"Your company's withdrawal from North Carolina is a testament to PayPal's values," a letter from Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish to PayPal CEO Daniel Schulman reads. "The City of Cleveland shares those same values."
"As the host of the 2014 Gay Games, Cleveland is a city that proudly flies the pride flag above Cleveland City Hall," the letter continues. "In addition to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Clinic, and one of the largest sources of fresh water in the world, Cleveland had more amenities than can fit on this page."
The county has been vocal about North Carolina's law since it was enacted. Last week, Budish issued an executive order, stating that no officer or employer can approve travel to the state until the act is repealed or amended.
Read the entire letter to PayPal below:
Dear Mr. Schulman,
Greetings from Cleveland, Ohio!
Your company's withdrawal from North Carolina is a testament to PayPal's values. The City of Cleveland shares those same values. We would like to invite you and your site selection committee to visit Cleveland and consider this welcoming city as an alternative location for PayPal's global operations center.
As the host of the 2014 Gay Games, Cleveland is a city that proudly flies the pride flag above Cleveland City Hall. In addition to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Clinic, and one of the largest sources of fresh water in the world, Cleveland had more amenities than can fit on this page.
As the signatories of this invitation suggest, your company would be embraced by a wide variety of stakeholders and a highly educated workforce with city, county, and state resources at the ready to attract a company like yours.
In a recent study comparing the top 40 metropolitan areas in the United States by Cleveland State University's Center for Population Dynamics titled "The Fifth Migration: A Study of Cleveland Millennials", Cleveland stood out:
The region gained nearly 7,000 more millennia's with a college degree. Cleveland was tied for 8th in the nation with Seattle and Miami in the percent gain of college-degreed young adults.
4.9% of Cleveland workers aged 25 to 34 had an advanced degree, ranking the metro 7th[in the U.S.]. Cleveland's gain in concentration of highly-educated workers continued into 2013: 15.9% of millennial workers had an advanced degree, good for 8th in the nation.
It would be great to add PayPal to the list of companies that either call the Cleveland area home or have a significant presence here. Companies such as Key Bank, Sherwin Williams, Eaton Corporation, Lubrizol, Progressive Insurance, Lincoln Electric, Forest City Realty Trust, S&P Data and Nestle to name a few.
We again applaud you for your principled exit from North Carolina and hope you seriously consider this invitation to locate your global center in Cleveland, Ohio.