Healthy wages

It's not just the number of jobs expected to be created in the next couple of years by technology and medical organizations that intrigues executives with the Economic Development Authority ofWestern Nevada.

While the number is big 1,230 in three years EDAWN officials feel even better knowing that technology and medical jobs pay well.

The average wage for health-care professionals statewide is $20.93.

Technology jobs pay an average of $18.74 an hour.

"This is a very important target for us.

Those are very healthy wages," says Gail Conkey, director of operations for EDAWN.

A team of volunteers under the guidance of Conkey interviewed 22 medical and technology companies in the region during the second quarter.

Along with the additional employment, executives said they plan to build 1.4 million square feet and invest $485.8 million over the next three years.

Although EDAWN doesn't disclose the identities of the companies it interviews, the capital investment figure might be boosted by the $380 million that Washoe Medical Center is spending on a new tower at its campus in downtown Reno.

The 1,230 jobs that technology and medical companies expect to add in the next three years would keep them on their current growth track.

They added 1,275 jobs in the previous three years.

The productivity of the northern Nevada workforce helps to boost employment in those two sectors.

On a scale of one to five, employers interviewed by EDAWN gave the workforce a score of four for productivity.

And Conkey said the high productivity of northern Nevada workers is especially apparent to technology firms that recently relocated from California.

On the other hand, the executives interviewed by EDAWN volunteers said they're concerned about finding enough workers to meet their growing needs.

In electronics as well as medical professions, executives said supplies of qualified workers are tight.

And technology executives said they're not convinced that the educational system is able to support their needs for a skilled workforce.

Executives also said they're worried about trade relations with China both in their ability to compete as well as the possibility that tightening trade rules might affect their ability to do business worldwide.


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