The economy of Central Texas depends heavily on tech jobs, which rank among the fastest-growing and best-paying fields in the Austin area. But demand for qualified workers exceeds the supply, creating a talent gap for local businesses and lost opportunities for area workers. Leaders in business, government and education agree that the best way to close that talent gap is through education — supporting students who are interested in STEM careers, creating more opportunities for hands-on learning and cultivating a workforce that’s prepared to succeed in those jobs. ATX STEM Park provides an opportunity to enhance STEM education in our region and to connect local industry with tomorrow’s STEM employees and leaders.
The data shows why STEM education matters for Central Texas. According to the Austin Technology Council, the tech sector has a $21.5 billion impact to our regional economy. Nine percent of all jobs in the region are in technology, and 26% have a connection to the tech industry. Between now and 2017, one in five new tech jobs in Texas is expected to be in Austin — an anticipated increase of 9000 area jobs.
And tech is more than just computers. The life sciences industry is growing rapidly, with 6,000 jobs, $1 billion a year for our local economy and an average wage that’s 50% higher than the average for our region.
These numbers demonstrate a huge opportunity — future jobs for area students, and a new pool of talented employees to attract more tech firms to Austin.
ATX STEM Park wants to be part of that opportunity by creating an intellectual recreation center where students and mentors can share a love of STEM and help shape Austin’s future.