Biggest lure for Amazon to Virginia may be campus, not cash

Virginia Tech President Tim Sands speaks at the school’s announcement of a 1 million square-foot technology focused campus in Alexandria, Va., to build one of it’s two new headquarters, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. The project was cited as a key reason Amazon selected Virginia for a new headquarters. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

The key to luring Amazon to northern Virginia may not have been hundreds of millions in cash incentives but instead plans for a nearby $1 billion graduate campus that will train hundreds of high-tech workers annually.

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Amazon announced Tuesday it is building a big chunk of its East Coast headquarters in the Crystal City section of Arlington County and expects to bring 25,000 jobs to the region.

Part of the state's incentive package for Amazon is an "Innovation Campus" that will be part of Virginia Tech University. It will eventually award 750 graduate degrees a year in computer science and related fields to help fill a shortage of high-tech workers.

Gov. Ralph Northam said the education component of the incentive package represents a new paradigm in luring economic development.

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