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EDAWN says region could see 50K new jobs in next five years


At a town hall event last week, one economic development expert in Reno said the region could see up to 50,000 new jobs in the next several years, largely thanks to Tesla. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has the details on that hefty projection.

By now, we've all heard the number: 6,500. As the gigafactory is completed in the next several years, that's how many people Tesla will employ in Northern Nevada. But Mike Kazmierski, who leads the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, or EDAWN, says he expects the company will draw more than twice that many support positions.

"We know they need additional suppliers and providers beyond what's just in their facility. In fact, we had one in our office today," Kazmierski said, speaking at an event last week hosted by KNPB and the Reno Gazette-Journal to discuss the region's future with Tesla.

"They're starting to look at the region and come," he added. "So, that will take them from the 6,500 to probably 15,000 in the next five years."

Along with jobs directly related to the company and its suppliers, Kazmierskie credits the international spotlight shining down on the region for boosting other industries as well.

"We in our normal attraction pipeline have another 10,000 jobs we're looking at," he explained, "5,000 of which we expect to announce in the next 12 to 18 months. So if you extrapolate that out a little bit, you can probably say we're close to 25,000 in the next five years."

Finally, Kazmierski said that if the region does bring in those 25,000 jobs he's predicting, then each one could create an additional indirect position, like a job in retail or food services.

Regardless of the final job tally, Tray Abney with the local chamber of commerce, says Northern Nevada better be prepared for this influx.

"We have to make sure we look like the adults," he cautioned, "and when this finally comes that we're ready. That means having schools that can house all the new Tesla kids, if you will. That means having the roads and the infrastructure."

There's been wide speculation on the number of jobs that Tesla will ultimately bring to the region, and it's important to remember that Mike Kazmierski's forecast is for all of the jobs he expects Northern Nevada to snag in the next several years, including ones that are not directly, or even indirectly, tied to the company.

Earlier this fall, Governor Sandoval's office of economic development released its projection that Tesla will spur almost 23,000 new positions for the state.

Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
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