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'Growth Can Be Positive': Colorado Tech Companies Recruiting Out Of State

By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) - The Colorado Office of Economic Development and Downtown Denver Partnership are working with some of the biggest tech companies in Denver to try to get more workers out of California and into Colorado.

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"This is a poaching strategy," says the website Pivot to Colorado. "Colorado has open jobs, a thriving economy, and a community of like-minded innovators. The time is now to change your trajectory."

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Jeremy Thomas (credit: CBS)

"My wife and I hit a point with three kids in the Bay Area where we were thinking of buying a house and what our long term future was," said Jeremy Thomas the Head of Software Engineering at Gusto said.

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Thomas made the pivot, moving his family out of the Bay Area and back to Colorado, where he was raised, about a year and a half ago.

"California was in my mind and I thought, 'Oh I have to be there. That's the Mecca of tech.' As I got older, I realized there are other places with great technology. 'Let me look back to Colorado and wow, look what's going on here. It's amazing,'" Thomas said.

Gusto is planning to double its engineering team and Thomas says at least half that team will be from outside the state.

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Colorado has 11,000 tech companies and a plethora of jobs. That surplus is appealing to many job seekers.

"A lot of technologists don't want to move to a place where they're going in all on one company," Thomas said.

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CBS4's Jeff Todd interviews Kaitlin Seders. (credit: CBS)

Kaitlin Seders was looking for work after getting a master's degree. She was born, raised, and educated around Silicon Valley, but came to Colorado for work and skiing.

"I thought the opportunity was a lot bigger out here and that's why I went for it," Seders said. "I'm always actively trying to get people to come out here."

Seders is a senior analyst at Ibotta, an app that offers rebates on groceries and other goods and is headquartered in Denver.

She says young workers are looking to escape the cost of living in Northern California.

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Many people already in Colorado may be uncomfortable with the idea of more growth. Many in the tech industry say it is not possible to slow that growth with more workers and more companies finding benefits in Colorado.

"It's growing, and it's going to keep growing, and I think growth can be positive for everyone," Seders said.

"I do observe the traffic problems," Thomas said, remembering when he grew up in Colorado in the 1990s. "Everybody wants the economy to grow. What kind of jobs do we want to create? Are tech jobs good jobs to create? There are a lot of people, at least who I know, who think tech is the good kind of job to create."

LINK: Pivot To Colorado

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he's been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.

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