Nevada is one of the fastest growing states in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but that growth comes with challenges.
At the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada’s annual State of the Economy presentation, CEO Mike Kazmierski told roughly 1,100 attendees that Northern Nevada’s economy is stable and strong.
With 10,000 new jobs created last year, Northwestern Nevada has the highest employment growth in the state. $25 billion are also being invested into several projects, like the new City Center in downtown Reno, and the reconstruction of Park Lane.
Both the economy and job growth are continuing at a great pace, but Kazmierski said the area faces challenges that it needs to tackle now.
“First, we all need to tell our legislature that education is a top priority,” Kazmierski said. "It should be funded at the national average. Without an educated workforce, we're going to have trouble in the future.”
Kazmierski also highlighted the critical need to build more homes in the area and that building permits continue to significantly fall short of the national average. He said there is a clear link between Northern Nevada’s growth and homelessness.
“Homelessness is connected to housing, but we just need to build more houses. We need to stop supporting the attitude of, ‘I don't want it in my neighborhood; I don't want apartments here; I don't want density.’ We need to embrace and support it,” Kazmierski said.
Looking forward, EDAWN said it will work to build affordable housing to help the large population of unaccompanied homeless youth living in Nevada.