US: Airbnb has announced plans to open a technical hub in the City of Atlanta, Georgia, with the eventual aim to provide “hundreds” of technical and non-technical jobs across its product development teams.
The company is intending to open the new hub in Atlanta later this year, and has pledged to donate any economic incentives or credits associated with the location back to the city to be used for community impact initiatives.
Airbnb said Atlanta stood out as a location because it aligned with the company’s aims, namely to provide strong educational infrastructure for training engineers, including educational institutions that were committed to specifically support communities of colour.
Public policy director Laphonza Butler said: “When we began evaluating locations for a new technical hub, we were looking for a city that shared our commitment to diversity and inclusion, a city with a robust and diverse technical talent pool, and a city with great quality of life. One of the things that stood out about Atlanta was its strong educational infrastructure supporting communities of colour.
“Atlanta is an ideal place to grow our team and business and we are thrilled to be setting down roots in the city,” added Butler.
Back in May last year, Airbnb laid off 25 per cent of its global workforce – approximately 1,900 team members – as the aftermath of the pandemic played out. It also slashed its investments in hotels and luxury business ventures, and put a “pause” on broadening its travel portfolio into transportation, aviation and in-house content hub Airbnb Studios.
The travel behemoth had previously raised $2 billion in separate tranches of debt and equity securities and a loan in senior debt, while being forced to delay its long-awaited IPO until the end of 2020 with the shoots of optimism returning for vacations in 2021.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said: “Atlanta is the South’s shining star and our prosperity depends on cultivating a diverse company base that brings jobs and creates opportunities for our residents. We welcome Airbnb to Atlanta and look forward to working with them to build a pipeline of good quality jobs for our local workforce.”
Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp said: “Georgia has remained on the cutting edge of training and educating our workforce, which continues to attract first-class companies like Airbnb to invest here. I’m confident this is just the beginning of Airbnb’s presence in our state, and I look forward to seeing the long-term opportunities they create for hardworking Georgians in the Peach State for years to come.”
In a statement, Airbnb added that it would continue developing community partnerships in the city aimed at expanding entrepreneurship opportunities and creating pathways for Georgia residents to pursue careers in technology. That was to build on the firm’s existing partnerships with the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship [RCIE], Tech Bridge, and others in the Atlanta community.
Jay Bailey, CEO of the Russell Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said: “Airbnb is a dynamic company dedicated to creating economic opportunities through hosting its platform. We have been proud to partner with Airbnb to help members of the Black community leverage the platform and become microentrepreneurs, and now we are excited to welcome Airbnb as an employer bringing more jobs in Atlanta.”