Isn’t that photo amazing? Of course it is, but unfortunately Reno is going to need more than good looks to attract and retain more people and businesses in this area. Even if a person read all of my prior blog posts and had an accurate idea about what the Reno area has to offer, it doesn’t necessarily mean they would consider living here. I will describe several avenues in which Reno can generate growth. It starts with creating more opportunity.
I think some people want Reno to stay small, but I think those people are silly. More people = more EVERYTHING: Economic growth, more businesses, more infrastructure, more to do, etc. Assuming we share the common goal of growing Reno, how do you accomplish that? It’s certainly not a simple task. Generally speaking, people go where they can find jobs and therefore I think more jobs will be the gateway to growth in Reno. In order to create more jobs, you need more businesses.
We already have the incentives in place to encourage businesses to relocate to the Reno area: Low business taxes, no income tax, low cost of living, high quality of life, etc. Not to mention the close proximity to the bay area and the ideal distribution location in correlation to the rest of the west coast. EDAWN has been the primary organization encouraging companies to come to the area, and they have done a great job. Companies relocating will bring jobs and I believe it will have a domino effect in job creation.
I’ll illustrate a hypothetical example to better emphasize my point: We are all crossing our fingers that Tesla will choose Reno as it’s home base for their battery factory. If Tesla moves to the area, they will bring about 6,500 employees. In addition to these positions, companies supporting Tesla will likely move to the area, creating more jobs. Tesla and the supporting companies will take advantage of the low business taxes and maximize their profits. Employees are able to increase their income since they no longer have to pay income tax, and their quality of life will increase since the cost of housing is relatively cheap, and they have access to world-class recreation. These business will support existing businesses in Reno and they will flourish. The employees who relocated will inform their family and friends about how great this area is, and Reno will gain the attention of more people. The fact that we only have 1 EDAWN-type organization is weird to me, as it seems crucial to the success of Reno’s growth.
In my opinion, another avenue that needs to be further developed is retention from UNR. You get kids coming from differing locations and many of them leave shortly after graduation. I can attest to this because I’ve had many friends move away to chase other opportunities. I think UNR needs to do more in connecting students to employers in the area. Students need the opportunity to get in front of employers more often. For example, until very recently there was virtually no direct connection between MBA students and the working community. I’m happy to be part of the Nevada Business connection Club NVBC which is a networking organization that will connect current MBA students to employers. Networking events are just one avenue: Setting up tours of businesses would be wonderful. Requiring students to take on real projects for local businesses would be great, but if there is too much risk involved, they could model their work from real projects and present their conclusions to employers. Employers could be invited more often to speak in class rooms, etc. Each department on campus would likely need its own strategy since a business student would connect differently with working professionals than a biology student. I’m sure there would be hurdles to overcome with these ideas, but they could be accomplished. Retaining the brightest minds coming out of the university would build a younger workforce which would serve as a long term investment to the area.
What do you think needs to happen for Reno to grow? Leave me a comment or tweet me and let me know!