A new study by Nevada banking companies adds weight to previous discussions about the need to upgrade the workforce and STEM education in the schools, as well as what makes Nevada a great place to do business.
First Independent Bank and Bank of Nevada, both divisions of Western Alliance Bank, last week released the Nevada Business Leader Survey. The banks commissioned WestGroup Research to conduct the survey, which took place in January.
Bob Francl, executive vice president, regional president of Reno-based First Independent Bank, explained to the NNBW in a phone interview why the banks commissioned the survey.
“We’re a business bank,” he said. “It’s important to us what’s important to our businesses; to gauge what business leaders are confident about and the business climate.”
In the statewide survey of 200 business leaders, 51 percent cited the quality and availability of the workforce as the number one challenge for Nevada businesses. Half of the respondents (50 percent) cited concerns about the education system, followed by health care costs (37 percent), business taxes (24 percent) and business regulations (22 percent).
Fifty-five percent of Nevada business leaders said increasing the pool of STEM graduates would be among the actions that could have the most positive impact on Nevada.
The study results fall in line with the conversation in northern Nevada about the need for a better-trained workforce. The influx of high-profile businesses such as Tesla, Panasonic, and Switch has brought new jobs to the market, especially in technology-based industries and advanced manufacturing.
“I don’t think there were surprises in the study, both the benefits (of doing business in the state) and the challenges,” Francl said. “What’s notable is the percentages. More than 50 percent of business leaders said workforce and schools were challenging. A high percentage of respondents identified those issues as most notable.”
Even when questioned about actions that government could take to enhance the business climate, education was a top issue.
Fifty-nine percent felt local governments should prioritize improving K-12 education and 41 percent felt more should be done for community college training and workforce development.
Read the rest of the article at nnbw.com.