For years Nevada's economy has been sustained by mining and gaming.
Many of those jobs filled by an under-educated workforce.
But, a recession led to thousands of layoffs and a new way of thinking about economic development.
Governor Brian Sandoval and many lawmakers believe more education is the cure for what ails Nevada. Towards that aim, the governor signed several bills passed the Legislature that poured millions more into education in the state.
The idea being a more educated and skilled workforce will attract more companies and businesses and a diverse economy with new industries and new opportunities will follow.
Freelance journalist Hugh Jackson believes both the governor and the Legislature deserves credit for recognizing the need for more spending on education.
But, Jackson believes education can't fix everything. He told KNPR's State of Nevada that many, many Nevada workers will still be in relatively low paying jobs, including retail, food service, clerical, janitorial and home health service.
Jackson is happy to see education become a focus but says money for training and education is not enough.
"We need to have some kind of acknowledgment that no matter how much of that we do, we are still going to have a tremendous amount of folks who are working in these other jobs that we don't really want to talk about," he said.
Jackson believes the free market system hasn't been able to provide adequate income for two out of five Nevadans and says "some type of extra market intervention" is needed.
He said most officials in Nevada are on board with the "diversify-Nevada-through-educaton thing," which he supports, but says those officials are "not giving attention" to a large swath of workers who are going to be living on "near or at poverty-level wages."
"That's just something no one wants to talk about, except, well I do," he added.
According to Jackson, living in poverty creates a cycle where people can't afford even the smallest emergency like a traffic ticket or new glasses and then are forced to use high-interest payday loans and they never get out of the cycle.
He also pointed out that it is a problem that impacts the whole economy, not just people in poverty.
"When you have that many people who are making a precarious living, The Precarious as it is sometimes called... that weakens your consumer core and that's not good for everybody else either," he said.
Jackson would like officials to look at and acknowledge the real numbers and the real number of jobs that will require post-high school training.
Hugh Jackson, freelance journalist
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