Ex-Google exec Matt Dunne has a plan to create a string of tech hubs across rural America

Credit: Anna Hensel, Venture Beat

It’s no secret that while Silicon Valley is gaining jobs, rural America is losing them. A September report from the Economic Innovation Group found that nearly 90 percent of the ZIP codes in the U.S. that qualify as “economically distressed” have fewer than 50,000 people.

There have been a number of publicized efforts this year from the big five tech companies — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Alphabet — to create more tech jobs in places outside of Silicon Valley. But many of them are tailored to metropolitan and suburban communities. An office that needs up to 50,000 employees isn’t going to open in a town of 15,000.

Matt Dunne, Google’s head of community affairs from 2008 to 2016, says that there’s more opportunities for Silicon Valley and rural communities to work together than they might initially think. He’s proof — while at Google, he ran the company’s Community Affairs team from the tiny village of White River Junction, Vermont.


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