All the news Mike Kazmierski, president and CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, presented to the Sparks City Council on Monday was positive .
Statistics from the business-recruiting organization show the area’s median household income has risen from $49,026 in 2012 to $54,727 in 2014.
“In previous years we’ve landed one or two new companies for Sparks,” he said. “This year we’ve assisted eight new companies– with 566 new jobs– at a $20 plus average wage in coming to Sparks.”
“We’re projecting 50,000 new jobs in the region in the next five years,” he said. “We’re focusing on increasing the quality of our work force and working with local community development to adjust to the projected growth.”
Kazmierski doesn’t see the boom going away.
“It’s the ‘new Reno/ Sparks’ ‘with Tesla and Switch, record job growth and rebranding, the revitalization of Reno and Sparks downtowns and a housing demand driven by real job growth,” he said. “ That’s not going to slow down.”
The jobs are not from Nevada’s traditional tourism and gaming sectors.
“Most of our new jobs are in manufacturing and logistics,” Kazmierski said. “Those don’t go away when the national economy wanes.”
He also told the council: “The Tesla building is going to be almost as big as the Pentagon when it’s done…and Tesla’s impact on our region has been that large. Because of Tesla, Apple and Switch, our area has gotten on the national and international radar. Businesses no longer look at us as primarily a gaming community.”
Switch, he noted, will bring several thousand technology jobs and super-loop connectivity to the area.
When questioned by the City Council about potential challenges, Kazmierski listed his three areas of concern:
(1) Potential lack of a trained work force.
(2) Lack of housing. “We’ll need 40,000 available homes in the next five years.”
(3) Lack of school infrastructure.
He said, however, that he believes with regional cooperation and planning the obstacles can be addressed.