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Reports: Diversified Workforce Means A Stronger Las Vegas

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Associated press

When the Las Vegas Stadium Authority approved the lease to bring the Oakland Raiders here by 2020, local labor unions cheered.

They’re thinking one thing, of course: lots of construction jobs.

In that way, the Las Vegas economy is looking brighter. 

But what the stadium deal doesn’t address is something that has worried most people in this state since we were hit by the Recession: diversifying the economy.

The belief is, relying on tourism and gaming is a recipe for low-paying jobs, a shrinking middle-class, and another big hit if—or when—another recession hits.

The Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance has put out two papers recently about Las Vegas' workforce, and industries to target for diversification.

Jared Smith is the COO of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance. He said some of the industries that the LVGEA will continue to target are business services, technology, logistics, finance and banking, healthcare and of course gaming.

Smith said states that Nevada competes with for companies often push industries here. He believes our state is positioned, both in policy and location, to take advantage of the mistakes of other states.

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However, one of the big threats to bringing new industry here is education.

“Our education opportunities and our training opportunities need to match up with the aspirational goals of where we’re headed as an economy,” Smith said.

He believes our training centers, community colleges, and universities need to working with businesses to address the future needs of the economy. 

The second report prepared for LVGEA addressed that problem of the workforce. 

Jonas Peterson is the CEO of LVGEA. He said the report found our workforce is "misunderstood" and "underrated." In reality, Peterson said Southern Nevada has a young, diverse, socially intelligent and hard-working workforce that has a chance at being one of the best in the country.

He said building the workforce means building on the core of what makes Nevada what it is: the hospitality industry. He said by growing the core and growing jobs adjacent to that core like video game development, entertainment, digital media and security applications our economy will grow.

“The reality is we do have a large percentage of our workforce that is in service-type employment that means we as a community need to continue our efforts which are working to diversify the economy to attract those adjacent industries to gaming and to grow other sectors,” he said.

Peterson admitted that Southern Nevada still struggles with education and a shortage of health care professionals, but he believes those issues are being addressed.

“Our market today is not as diverse as others but we are becoming more diverse faster than the competition,” he said.

Guests

Jonas Peterson, CEO, Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance; Jared Smith, COO Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance 

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