The Suburbanite
  • High-tech jobs growing in Stark

  • The study by the Bay Area Council of Economic Institute ranks the Canton-Massillon area as one of the nation’s top 15 metropolitan areas for high-tech employment growth.

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  • Northeast Ohio is supposed to be a land of shuttered, aged factories and low-paying jobs, but a study by a San Francisco-based group contends the area is a hotbed for high-tech growth.
    The study by the Bay Area Council of Economic Institute ranks the Canton-Massillon area as one of the nation’s top 15 metropolitan areas for high-tech employment growth.
    The area added 1,400 high-tech jobs between 2010 and 2011, for a 10.1 percent gain. Between 2006 and 2011, the Canton-Massillon area posted a 13.1 percent gain in high-tech jobs.
    The news is exciting and slightly surprising to local officials.
    “We are thrilled to hear we are one of the top 15 high-tech job cities in the country,” Mayor William J. Healy II said.
    The results come as a surprise because the area doesn’t have a reputation for high-tech employers.
    “It’s a positive sign for the county,” said Steve Paquette, Stark Development Board president and chief executive officer.
    The study — called “Technology Works” and released by Engine Advocacy — notes that high-tech jobs are found in nearly every area of the country.
    It looked at different industry groups that employ people in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM workers. Not all STEM workers are in a high-tech industry.
    Employment growth in STEM occupations nationwide has been robust for the last decade and is expected to keep growing through 2020. Meanwhile, workers in high-tech industries earn a better wage compared with workers in other fields, the study determined.
    Engine Advocacy looked at 14 employment classifications compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The list includes medical professions, scientific research and development services, software publishers, Internet publishing and broadcasting, and data processing.
    It’s a broad definition of high-tech, said Reid Vineis, spokesman for Engine Advocacy. It’s the first time for the study, but the Bay Area Council Economic Institute has been reviewing statistics and compiling reports for year, he said.
    While findings show that local high-tech jobs have been increasing, they still account for only about 1 percent of the area’s workforce. That compares with 3 percent of the Akron metro area’s workforce and 3.8 percent of the Cleveland metro area.
    High-tech jobs account for about 4.1 percent — roughly 174,800 — of the jobs in Ohio, according to the report.
    The study couldn’t connect the growing number of jobs to a single employer, Vineis said.
    Indications are the area’s existing employers — Timken and Diebold, for example — are contributing to the growth because engineers and technicians are important to the operations. As an example, Paquette cited Timken’s work with wind turbines and the fuel cell developments by Rolls Royce as possible contributors to the high-tech job growth.
    Page 2 of 2 - Healy noted that Canton has worked hard in recent years to recruit and welcome innovative companies to the area. The city has seen economic development, which has helped cut unemployment, he said.
    Paquette said the Engine Advocacy study shows that technology is part of the area’s future, which helps when trying to persuade a business to locate here. “The more we show that we have skilled people, the more we can attract companies.”
    For more information, visit www.engine.is/techworks.
    High-tech job hotbeds
    Top 20 metro areas for high-tech employment growth, 2010-11
    Area Change
    1. Greensboro-High Point, N.C. 36.3%
    2. Columbia, S.C. 28.2%
    3. Dayton 24.2%
    4. San Francisco Bay area 20.1%
    5. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah 19.3%
    6. Lansing-East Lansing, Mich. 17.6%
    7. Lake-Kenosha counties, Ill.-Wis. 13.5%
    8. Wilmington, Del. 13.4%
    9. Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas 12.8%
    10. Daytona Beach, Fla. 12.5%
    11. Boise City-Nampa, Idaho 11.9%
    12. Augusta, Ga. 11.7%
    13. Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich. 10.6%
    14. Asheville, N.C. 10.2%
    15. Canton-Massillon 10.1%
    16. Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor 9.1%
    17. Evansville, Ind. 8.8%
    18. Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, Ill.-Iowa 8.7%
    19. Fayetteville, Ark. 8.6%
    20-tie. Kansas City, Mo. 8.4%
    20-tie. San Antonio 8.4%

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