For over six decades, community leaders throughout Nevada, have been talking about diversifying the State’s economy. At the top of the list, innovation, research, and technology type companies and light, non-polluting, manufacturing.
Over the past ten years, UNLV has been promoting its 122-acre Harry Reid Research and Technology Park located at Durango and Sunset in the southwest part of the valley. In July of this year, UNLV broke ground on the first structure, a four-story, 111,000 square-foot Innovation Building. Once completed, the park will feature 10 to 15 buildings with up to 1.5 million square feet of space and create up to 25,000 new jobs and a $2.6 billion economic impact.
It is estimated that in 2018, the U.S. will spend an estimated $553 billion on research and development—more than any other country in the world and amount to over 25 percent of the world’s total.
A recent study by WalletHub has ranked each state in the U.S. according to their ability to develop and promote innovative ideas, and Nevada is ranked in the middle of the pack at 28 out of the 51 states. Unfortunately, in terms of the ‘human capital’ needed for innovation, Nevada ranks number 48. But, Nevada does shine, at number ten, when it comes to its ‘innovation environment.’
However, despite the low to mediocre rankings in technology, Nevada does rank quite high in other areas.
To determine the ‘human capital’ ranking, the researchers looked at the share of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professionals, of which Nevada ranked second lowest in the nation at 50. Nevada also ranked in the bottom ten when it comes to the percentage of science- and engineering-degree holders aged 25 and older per total degree holders in the same age group.
The analysists also looked at ‘scientific-knowledge output’ (based on the number of peer-reviewed articles published per 1,000 science-, engineering-, and health-doctorate holders; eighth-grade math and science performance), and the percentage of public high school students in the graduating class who completed one or more Advanced-Placement exams. Once again, Nevada ranked in the bottom ten.
Because of the low share of STEM professionals, Nevada is also ranked at 50 in the category of STEM Job Demand by 2020.
Factors that countered the low academics and allowed Nevada to rise to the middle of the rankings are our access to fast internet connections and Venture-Capital funding per capita. Our corporate tax structure also added positive points toward the encouragement of an innovative environment.
However, it is interesting that with the world’s leading gaming technology companies headquartered in Nevada, the state ranks last, number 51, in R & D spending per capita. Apparently, there are too few technology companies in Nevada to make an impact.
Over the years, in addition to the lack of local, qualified, people available to work in technology-driven companies, Nevada, Southern Nevada in particular, has not had the ready built industrial space to attract technology companies to move to Nevada, but that may be changing.
In 2017, Las Vegas saw 6.5 million square feet of industrial space—a post-recession record—completed. And, according to Colliers International Las Vegas second quarter 2018 report, more than 2.8 million square feet had been completed through that period.
According to the report, another 1.9 million square feet is slated for completion in the latter half of 2018 with that same number of square feet pegged to come online in the first quarter of 2019.
In addition, industrial developers are excited about the possibility of the construction of the new Ivanpah Valley airport located between Jean and Prim, Nevada. Associated with that airport is 17,000 acres designated to become an airport noise compatibility area. With access to the new airport, the adjacent I-15 corridor and Union Pacific RR line, that property is ideally situated to become a manufacturing and logistics center for the Western U.S.
And, while technology might not be Nevada’s strong suit at the moment, the state does excel in other areas.
The William F. Harrah College of Hospitality is one of the top-ranked hospitality colleges in the world. From 2009 to 2017, UNLV’s staff and students have applied for and been awarded 179 patents, most of them through the UNLV International Gaming Institute.
Likewise, the UNLV Boyd School of Law ranks Number 59 overall, Number 10 in dispute resolution specialty programs, and number-one in legal writing. The Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering’s civil engineering program is also ranked among the nation’s top 100 programs.
Another shining star of UNLV is the Lee Business School, which strives to “Cultivate leaders who transform business in today’s dynamic marketplace through skill development and experiential learning.”
The Lee Business School is the only program in Nevada to hold accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). This prestigious accreditation is held by the top 5 percent of the universities around the world and must be renewed every five years.
UNLV attracts students from around the world for which it has earned a number-one ranking by U.S. News & World Report (tied with Andrews University and Rutgers University-Newark), as the Most Diverse Campus in the Nation. Diversity is especially important when it comes to the post-graduate MBA program, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Also, the Lee Business School is Ranked in a three-way tie at #97 with Seton Hall University, University of Cincinnati, and University of Nebraska, in the Top 100 of the U.S. News & World Report Best Part-time MBA Programs.
Also on the map is the College of Southern Nevada, since 2008, the College business program has held accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The accreditation focuses on recognizing teaching excellence, determining student learning outcomes, and a continuous improvement model. ACBSP’s student-centered teaching and learning approach, which is measured and analyzed for quality, ensures that students gain the right skills from their educational investment. Institutions with programs accredited by ACBSP are committed to continuous improvement that ensures their business program will give students the skills employers want.
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