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The U.S. States Growing Their Tech Workforce


Bronwyn Flores, Specialist, Policy Communications, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

In the tech industry, the United States workforce grew by over 340,000 in 2017 – a 2.8 percent year-over-year increase, and CTA’s 2018 U.S. Innovation Scorecard paints a clear picture of job growth across the country.

Our report found – using the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data – most states are experiencing job growth. Overall 30 states – Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin – experienced job creation in variety industries.

Massachusetts and Virginia maintain their spots as the top two states for tech job growth per capita, but a closer look shows significant tech growth across the country.

Minnesota

Surpassed Colorado and Washington to claim the number three spot for size of tech workforce per capita. This is not to say Minnesota had a small tech workforce before, but its growth of over 6,000 tech jobs in one year is impressive.

The state’s tech workforce will likely keep growing thanks to dedicated STEM programs aimed at younger students. For instance, Code Kitty – a Minnesota non-profit – offers robotics projects for elementary school teachers to help them understand how to teach computational thinking.

Maryland 

Also beat Colorado and Washington – but still slightly behind Minnesota to rank fourth in the country– for size of tech workforce per capita. The growth is part of a dedicated effort by local policymakers.

The Job Connector Initiative – a Baltimore County program supported by $2.5 million in annual public funds – emphasizes the specific skills local employers need to fill vacant positions. The country expects nine industries – including health care, financial services, manufacturing and information technology – to drive 75 percent of area job growth. To fill those needs, employers can use the Job Connector to shape the types of training programs out-of-work Maryland residents receive.

Illinois

Added more than 25,000 tech jobs and jumped seven other states to rank 12th in the nation for its tech workforce.

Two new initiatives will help keep Chicago students – of all ages – ahead of the curve in tech fields. Apple announced a citywide rollout of its Everyone Can Code program to teach public school students Swift, its programming language. And the University of Illinois plans to build the Discovery Partners Institute – a $1.2 billion research center for about 2,000 students and faculty – to enable students to work for local startups while conducting research.

Vermont

Making the biggest leap of all, Vermont surpassed 13 other states to earn its rank as 14th in the nation for tech jobs. The growth can be attributed in large part to state policymakers empowering business groups to fill holes in the state’s workforce.

The state Department of Labor gave the Rutland Region Workforce Investment Board and Rutland Economic Development Corp a $185,000 grant to launch Real Careers @ Rutland County, a training program for high school students to fill high-demand fields including healthcare, transportation and logistics, and manufacturing. Industrial computer company Logic Supply will expand its presence in South Burlington with an additional 83 jobs thanks to a Vermont Employment Growth Incentive Award and approval for another training program grant.

CTA’s annual Scorecard evaluates all 50 U.S. states on quantitative and qualitative data – including average internet speeds, undergraduates earning advanced degrees and laws governing emerging technologies – to show where tech and entrepreneurs are and aren’t supported by their state governments. Twelve states – including one first-time winner – are recognized as the best places in the country to create jobs and launch businesses involving emerging technologies. To learn more visit www.usinnovationscorecard.com.

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