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From Missoula, Montana to New Orleans, how aspiring tech hubs are fighting to survive COVID-19

Missoula, MontanaBriar Diggs Photography

A GE departure, layoffs at ClassPass and other shocks raise a question: Will smaller cities become attractive tech centers in a changing economy — or will they suffer the most?

Grant Kier, CEO of the Missoula Economic Partnership, an economic development group backed in part by city funding, said the layoffs at ClassPass were “a big loss” for Missoula. At the same time, he takes comfort that ClassPass hasn’t given up on the city entirely. In fact, Aveston said the COVID-19 crisis is likely to accelerate the company’s future hiring in the city as it looks to cut costs. “Missoula is a long-term home for ClassPass in the U.S.,” Aveston said. “When we’re in a position to start bringing employees back from furlough, I anticipate Missoula will get an outsized share of those employees.”

 

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