When it comes to high-tech job growth, the metropolitan San Antonio-New Braunfels area of Texas is booming. The combination of a well-trained workforce and the cooperation of local governments, business sector and the collegiate community have made the area attractive to high-tech industries, entrepreneurs and young people moving into the area.
The IT industry in San Antonio has blossomed into one of the brightest spots in Texas and in the nation. According to a report by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, between 2006 and 2011, the San Antonio area was ranked at 13th for growth in high-tech jobs. During this period, the area saw growth of 23.6 percent in that sector while the nationwide rate was 1.4 percent during the same period. The state of Texas was ranked sixth on the list of high-tech jobs in a report commissioned and released by Engine Advocacy.
In what is shaping up to be growth in excess of $15 billion by 2015 in just the sectors of information technology and cyber-security, the area is benefiting from the collaboration among the civic, business and academic partners to continue to attract businesses and skilled workers to the area.
[For a detailed list of business, academic and civic organizations in the IT and Cyber-security sector, check out the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation.]
San Antonio has the second most concentrated data centers in the U.S. and hosts companies and organizations that lead the IT and cyber security markets like USAA, Rackspace, Air Force Cyber Command (24th Air Force) and the National Security Agency.
In addition to the growth of the high-tech industries, newcomers are attracted to the area for its climate, cultural and historical landmarks and affordable housing. This combination helps San Antonio-New Braunfels compete with other high-tech areas of the country. The favorable business environment in the state of Texas has spurred many businesses looking to relocate to position the San Antonio-New Braunfels area at the top of their lists when considering areas within Texas.
One entity that is becoming one of the factors in the high-tech growth in San Antonio is the co-workspace and start-up incubator Geekdom.
This is a great resource to those individuals wanting to get more involved with the IT field. It provides a place for individuals to sort their ideas out before they are established enough to purchase their own location for business and bring on more individuals to be a part of it. Creation of IT jobs is stimulating the economy of San Antonio and making the workforce more intelligent.
By encouraging budding entrepreneurs and startup companies in the area, community leaders feel that this helps to generate even more jobs. Reports show that for each high-tech job that is created, an additional 4.3 jobs are created that helps boost the economy in the San Antonio region.
Taking it a step beyond the entrepreneurial level, local efforts are targeting the high schools and middle schools to ensure they are offering the appropriate curriculum and technology training to develop the future high-tech workforce. With the increased national spotlight on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the local business and technology community is already increasing their focus on these areas.
The push for STEM education is going reduce individuals choosing low-income jobs straight out of high school. The STEM movement is hoping to get children interested in these respective areas from a young age and let them know that these are the most promising topics to focus on when choosing continuing education and working towards a successful, financially rewarding career.
There are schools in San Antonio which have developed curriculum using STEM as a focal point to help engage in a more professional learning environment. One in particular, the NEISD STEM Ram Academy, provides opportunities for enrollment for six thru twelve graders who have already discovered their passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The school evolved from the Educate Texas initiative, which was put in place to help Texas students achieve successful futures and become leaders in both their professional and private lives. All the courses at the STEM Ram Academy are pre-advanced placement (AP) and AP courses which focus on the vision of “college graduation, informed citizenship, and international leadership.”
To remain enrolled, students must meet strict grade requirements, have good attendance, keep good behavior, and provide academic support in the form of tutoring and before/after school study groups. The students are still involved in many of the classic extracurricular activities such as game nights, festivals, and socials, which are needed to keep children rounded.
Having a student population that is prepared once they reach the workforce will reduce the costs of training after-the-fact and give the high-tech businesses in the San Antonio-New Braunfels area a ready-made, well-trained workforce. Leaders also realize that it will help the area compete with technology companies in other areas of the nation as well as around the world.
Since the area has a wealth of attractions and the quality of life that most young workers seek, the booming high-tech and cyber-security industry will help to retain many of the local students before they move to other areas of the country. As the area continues to boom, additional growth in the region will in turn help to make the area even more attractive to young people. As the housing market rebounds, San Antonio area is expected to experience growth in the real estate sector yet prices should still remain very affordable compared to the rest of the United States.
The future outlook is very bright for San Antonio in the high-tech and cyber security industry. The combination of civic, business and academic partners is the key reason that the area will continue to boom. The San Antonio-New Braunfels metropolitan area will be a shining example of how collaboration can be the catalyst for economic growth in the IT sector. This growth will benefit the overall economy of the area.
This is a guest post from Megan Horner who is the Marketing Coordinator at TrainACE, located in the Washington, D.C. metro area. TrainACE is looking forward to bringing Cyber Security training classes to San Antonio in the near future and is now taking requests for which type of advanced security training people in the region are interested in. She can be reached directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or input.
Related Stories on the Rivard Report:
Healthcare and Biosciences: Invest More to Grow Faster December 2012
Geekdom: One Year Old and Best in Texas December 2012
San Antonio Makes the Lists, Which Makes Us Happy September 2012