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Las Vegas' Westside Trains Residents For Esports, Tech Jobs

Downtown Design Center

Along with more tech-based employment opportunities, the Hundred Plan for Las Vegas' Westside envisions improved streetscapes and better bicycle and pedestrian traffic flows.

One of Las Vegas’ oldest neighborhoods is counting on technology to provide tomorrow’s employment opportunities.

The historic Westside in downtown Las Vegas is a mostly African-American neighborhood that has long struggled with low incomes and high unemployment. A new economic initiative being pushed by Las Vegas Councilman Cedric Crear, who represents the area, is looking to leverage the popularity of esports to create job opportunities.

Crear told State of Nevada that taking his daughter to a content conference showed him the enthusiasm that young people have toward the digital world. 

“I left after three days, and I said to myself, ‘Look, we can sit back and act as though it's not good for these kids and people to get on our phones all the time. I don't like it. I want my kids to get out,’” the councilman said, “but the bottom line is that reality sets in and that this is where these young people are getting their information.”

As part of the Westside’s Hundred Plan urban renewal effort, which stands for Historic Urban Neighborhood Design Redevelopment, the Strong Future Technology Center has opened at Washington Avenue and D Streets. Cox Communications outfitted the center, which also receives public and private funding.    

“We are hosting esports tournaments and events that are taking place, and then we're also training people” for jobs in esports and “any industry that has computer technology.”

Crear said about 200 young people ages 16 to 24 have received some kind of training and 100 have found jobs.

Cedric Crear, Las Vegas councilman, Ward 5

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Dave Berns, now a producer for State of Nevada, recently returned to KNPR after having previously worked for the station from 2005 to 2009.