Amazon is asking cities for their high schoolers' SAT scores — and it's a major hint about its HQ2 priorities

  • As it visits the 20 cities on the short list for its second headquarters, Amazon is asking specific questions about education, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

  • The questions reveal how highly the company is prioritizing education in its HQ2 search.

  • Amazon is also reportedly prioritizing urban centers.

Amazon is pulling out all the stops to ensure that it can recruit and retain the top talent at the site of its new headquarters, or HQ2.

Amazon is asking for specific stats from the cities it's visiting as part of its HQ2 search, according to a new report in the Wall Street Journal. SAT and ACT scores, as well as other "probing questions regarding how much talent Amazon can attract," have been the topic of conversation during site visits.

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This helps bring more clarity to what Amazon has made a very opaque process. When it first announced its headquarters search, Amazon listed education as an important factor in choosing the HQ2 site. Most saw that as Amazon prioritizing cities with well-known, higher-education institutions, but the focus on college-entrance-exam scores shows that Amazon could be taking a longer-term view on the pipeline.

Amazon is also visiting these cities' trendier areas as part of its visits, according to the WSJ, to ensure they are attractive enough to draw younger workers from all over the country.

The company said in its request for proposals that it will invest $5 billion over 10 years in creating its second headquarters in whatever city is ultimately chosen. The project also entails an influx of 50,000 employees to the area.

Amazon is said to be leaning toward selecting a more urban area to build its campus, which it hopes will be in an area that can absorb the high rate of growth that HQ2 is likely to bring, according to the WSJ.

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