Moving Nevada Forward

in support of higher education

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Diversify Nevada

What will the future competitive advantage be for Nevada?

Red Rock Sunset, Las Vegas, NV

Red Rock Sunset, Las Vegas, NV (Photo credit: Grufnik)

One thing is clear, it is time for Nevada to diversify as moves away from the reliance on the gaming industry.  I applaud the Governor for establishing the Governor’s Office of Economic Development on his new website where it is good to see Governor Sandoval recognize the value of partnership between the State of Nevada and the Nevada System of Higher Education.  Nevada is an excellent place to do business and partnership with education is needed to help move Nevada forward.

Nevada A Top 10 Entrepreneurial State

On June 20, 2013, Nevada was listed in the Top 10 Most Entrepreneurial States The 2012 start-up rate is 390 per 100,000 adults.  Entrepreneurs in everything from retail to tech, aerospace, energy and defense are betting on Nevada as a place to launch.  Some are inspired by the presence of big-name companies like Apple, Microsoft, Zappos and Boeing, said Steve Hill, executive director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development.  For others, it’s the business-friendly environment.  There’s no personal income, business income or franchise tax, the state has streamlined its business licensing and permits process, and commercial real estate is relatively affordable, said Hill.  Nevada also recently set up a $10 million Catalyst Fund in 2011 to help start-ups get capital for relocation and expansion.

Education A Top Priority

Governor Sandoval was elected as Chair of the Education Commission of the States, and in a press release from the commission he stated,  “Improving and reforming education has been one of my highest priorities as Governor of Nevada and I look forward to working with education leaders across our nation to better serve our country’s children.”

Diversify Nevada website does an excellent job highlighting what Nevada has to offer.  Personally, I enjoy over 300 days of sunshine each year, but I am thrilled to see education listed as a highlight by the Governor’s office.

  • Affordable housing choices in high-energy city, peaceful suburban, and quaint rural settings.
  • Excellent educational options for students in K-12, community colleges and universities.
  • World-class entertainment and cultural events.
  • Unparalleled outdoor recreation opportunities.

Nevada Workforce describes the Nevada workforce, once again highlighting the partnership between education and business.

The Las Vegas Strip can be seen in the distanc...

The Las Vegas Strip can be seen in the distance from various points on the UNLV campus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nevada: an able workforce, ready to work. Nevada’s labor market provides high value to businesses, including high-tech industries and international trade. Our talent pool contains a large percentage of workers with advanced degrees.  Employers’ demands for skilled labor in Nevada is answered by many customized training programs designed for the needs of the state’s leading industries, such as the Train Employees Now program, which provides matching grants for qualified employers to acquire skilled labor in less time and at lower costs; and the Silver State Works employee hiring program, which provides incentives of up to $2,000 for each state-qualified employee hired.  Our workforce is also diverse, both culturally and linguistically. Many Nevada residents speak more than one language, with particularly strong representation of Spanish and Chinese speaking residents.

Nevada’s universities and colleges, technical institutions, and community colleges provide a continuous supply of workers with higher education credentials. Rich programs at the University of Nevada campuses in Reno and Las Vegas emphasize Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculums – a growing area of emphasis in the state’s K-12 schools as well.   Working with both the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and University of Nevada, Reno, the unmanned aerial vehicle industry wants to start training people for jobs they expect will exist in five years.  Additionally, the entire Nevada System of Higher Education is committed to developing specific employee training programs for individual industries and companies. These alliances have even created training for a “partner” company on the specific job tasks needed for a specialized process.

What will the future competitive advantage for Nevada be?  Perhaps it is too early to tell, but one can bet education and human resources will part of the solution.   I invite you to share your opinion on the future of Nevada and on moving Nevada forward.

Las Vegas Skyline

Las Vegas Skyline (Photo credit: Ben Adamson)