See more of the story

Greater MSP, the public-private economic-development agency for the Twin Cities, launched a new effort to recruit technology industry workers and firms to the region, including a web campaign and targeted advertising in other U.S. cities.

The campaign, dubbed "Develop in MSP," builds on two years of legwork by executives at the agency, local trade groups and several large companies. It features the stories of several people who moved to the Twin Cities recently to work in tech jobs.

"We felt that to deliver that message it had to come from people who have moved here," said Matt Lewis, head of the agency's tech program called Make It. MSP. "Nobody else has quite that level of credibility."

For the past few years, Greater MSP has used Twin Cities Startup Week, a series of workshops and events in October, to attract people from regions like Silicon Valley and Boston that have a high concentration of tech workers. Last fall, it gave 39 people from places around the U.S. $300 each to fly in to attend Startup Week. A handful of them have taken jobs here since.

The agency created a website that directs individuals to employers looking for workers and companies to Greater MSP for more in-depth consultation.

Much of the marketing information behind the "Develop in MSP" effort is based on data from computer industry trade groups and by CBRE, a commercial real estate brokerage that closely studies tech worker migration.

The Twin Cities has about 136,000 tech workers, Greater MSP said, and openings for about 50,000 jobs. The region chiefly attracts tech talent from colleges and universities around Minnesota, as well as from North Dakota, Madison, Wis., Milwaukee, Des Moines and Chicago.

Lewis said the new campaign will focus on those areas as wells as metro regions, like Boston and Seattle, that have an overabundance of tech talent.

Data show the Twin Cities also stands out among other cities for having a proportionally higher number of women in technology jobs (nearly 1 in 4 are taken by women) and for having an older tech workforce (4 in 10 are age 45 and up).

Attracting more women to the field is a high priority for tech employers throughout the country and Greater MSP's campaign puts women front and center. "There is no community in the country that is successfully marketing itself to women," Lewis said. "We're going to try hard."

Evan Ramstad • 612-673-4241