Quicken to Laid-Off Yahoo Staff: Take Your Talents to Detroit

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Online-only mortgage lender Quicken Loans is using the recently announced layoff of 2,000 Yahoo employees to try to boost the tech talent within its own ranks.

Quicken and sister companies Detroit Venture Partners, Rockbridge Growth Equity and Fathead.com announced an initiative to target recently laid off Yahoo employees and other Silicon Valley-based technology professionals for positions in their Detroit-based offices.

The companies said they are among a number of downtown Detroit-based firms looking to hire hundreds of technology professionals and they've created a website, ValleytoDetroit.com, where job seekers can upload their resumes. The website is powered by another Quicken sister company, HiredmyWay.com.

“We are creating an exciting urban core for young, energetic and creative professionals who want to affect the outcome of an entire region,” said Quicken Loans CEO Bill Emerson in a press statement. “Not only does Detroit make for a great place to start or grow a business, but it's also a great option for those who want to be on the ground-floor of rebuilding and reinventing a great American city.”

The announcement comes after Quicken Loans said in March that it plans to fill 800 positions in Detroit, including 300 technology jobs, and will hire an additional 600 interns.

The companies added that they intend to fly in final candidates to Detroit “to introduce them to the wide-range of established and start-up companies that have sprung up in the city's emerging technology corridor over the past two years, creating the vibrant arts and entrepreneurial renaissance in Detroit that has gained the city national acclaim.”

Yahoo laid off about 14% of its workforce on April 4, in a shakeup of the Internet company led by new CEO Scott Thompson. It was Yahoo's sixth round of layoffs under three different chief executives during the past four years.

Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert has been leading the charge to transform the struggling Detroit region as a technology business center since 2007, when he founded a nonprofit to promote Detroit-based businesses. He later began acquiring commercial office space in the Motor City's downtown hub through Rock Ventures, a company created to provide operational support to Gilbert's business interests. Staff from Quicken Loans and its sister companies began relocating from the suburbs to the offices in 2010.

The buildings, primarily located around Woodward Avenue in Detroit's business district, are the core of Gilbert's “Detroit 2.0” vision. The goal for the region—dubbed “Webward Avenue”—is for the area to serve as a base for many of Gilbert's businesses and also attract other tech companies to the region.

Monday's hiring announcement is the latest phase of this metamorphosis and follows social media company Twitter's April 4 announcement that it will open an office in a Rock Ventures-owned building in Detroit. Earlier this year, Rock Ventures announced that it purchased the building that formerly housed the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's Detroit Branch, which had been abandoned since 2004.

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