A new study released Thursday shows the Quad-City metropolitan area ranks among the fastest-growing areas in the nation in the growth of high-tech jobs.
According to a survey by the California-based Bay Area Council Economic Institute titled “Technology Works: Patterns of High-Technology Employment and Wages in the United States,” the Quad-City region was ranked 18th on the list of top 25 metro areas for 2010-2011 and 16th on the list for 2006-2011.
The study was commissioned by Engine Advocacy, an industrial group, to address the impact of high-tech employment growth for the U.S. labor market, and to identify communities around the country that are experiencing pronounced growth in tech.
The high-tech sector is defined as the group of industries with very high shares in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
Robert Haus, vice president of public affairs for PolicyWorks, a Des Moines public affairs company, said the Quad-City metro area experienced 20.2 percent growth in high-tech jobs from 2006-2011, compared with the average growth of 1.4 in the United States.
“This is a high-tech advocacy group, an industry group that speaks out for startups, existing high-tech companies,” he said of Engine Advocacy. “They represent the gamut of the high-tech industry. Their goal to show where high-tech lives.
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“It shows high-tech has matured in almost every state. It shows there are exciting things happening in your area and the state. I think Iowa is amazingly positioned for some great growth in the coming years in the high-tech industry. The fact that the Quad-Cities popped up in one of 25 metro areas really is a testimony of what is going on in your area.”
According to the study, high-tech workers earn 17 to 27 percent more than their peers in other industries, and the creation of a single high-tech sector job is associated with the creation of an additional 4.3 jobs in the local goods and services economy.
“Innovation continues to be a growing focus of the Quad-Cities region,” said Tara Barney, chief executive officer of the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce.
“We have very strong partnerships between education, business and government throughout the Quad-Cities, which leads to stronger workforce development. For example, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges and our high schools are closely aligned with the Putnam Museum and others in the community to strengthen STEM education.”