By Sally Roberts | email@example.com
A study by a technology think tank indicates the high-tech boom is spreading nationally, and northern Nevada is on the growing edge.
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) “High-Tech Nation” study released late last year examines 20 indicators of an innovation-driven high-tech economy to paint statistical portraits of all 435 U.S. Congressional Districts, all 50 states, and the District of Columbia.
The study demonstrates that high-tech innovation plays a critical role in the economy in all four congressional districts in Nevada.
Nevada Congressional District 2, which covers the northern Nevada counties of Douglas, Carson City, Washoe, Pershing, Humboldt, Elko, Eureka, and Landers, shows significant high-tech activity, especially when compared to U.S. median data and economically similar districts.
Dave Archer, president and CEO of NCET (Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology), has had a front row seat for northern Nevada’s technology growth in the last decade.
“People are paying attention now because (technology) really has increased,” Archer said in a phone interview with the NNBW.
He noted that the region includes technology giants such as Tesla and Switch, plus small technology entrepreneurial startups.
“A lot of cities don’t have both,” he said, referring to large and small companies. “They either have one or the other.”
Archer said the boom started in earnest as the economy turned around following the recession, with many companies fleeing high costs in California.
“Large companies were looking for a place to expand,” he said. “Startups were looking for a place to start.”
The move was easy for small software companies.
“They could pick up their lap top and drive across the hill and be here,” he added.
“Our proximity to the Bay Area is always a good thing,” Archer said. “We benefit being next to California in so many ways.”
In other studies that look at Nevada as a whole, the state doesn’t rank very high in technology markers. However the ITIF study provides a closer look at northern Nevada by breaking data down by congressional district.
Archer noted several highlights in the ITIF study that were encouraging: high-tech manufacturing is almost double the national average; and both the number of patent applications from the area and availability of broadband is equal to or better than the national average as well as comparable congressional districts.
Archer believes if the data looked just at northwestern Nevada, the region would look even better since technology is slower to move into the vast rural areas of the state.
The study also shows room for improvement.
“Clearly, the number of STEM workers can be improved,” Archer said, referring to the science, technology, engineering and mathematical employees that technology companies require. “It’s a chicken-and-egg thing. We need to convince people they need a STEM education, and the education system needs to prove jobs are there and convince people to take the classes.”
Progress is being made.
Companies like Switch and Tesla “wouldn’t be moving here if they didn’t feel we had sufficient number of STEM workers.”
Read the rest of the article at nnbw.com.