The Northern Nevada Development Authority attracts new businesses and supports existing businesses in Lyon, Douglas, and Storey Counties, along with Carson City. The organization has reduced the vacancy rate of industrial spaces across that region from 26 percent back in 2010 to about 3 percent today, though challenges remain. Our News Director Michelle Billman spoke with the organization to learn more about what they’re grappling with as they continue expanding economic growth in these smaller communities.
Despite significant growth across these rural and small urban communities, O'Mara says the lack of affordable housing is creating challenges for new businesses looking to relocate in those areas.
“You’re looking at anyone making anywhere from $18 an hour up to $80,000 to $90,000 a year—they’re the ones that are really finding it difficult to find the kind of housing they want for their families,” she explains.
Another issue they are working to overcome is the lack of skilled labor in the area. O'Mara says that "of the new jobs we're seeing, 70% will not be requiring a college degree. They will, however, require some kind of certification."
She says they, along with the Nevada System of Higher Education, are targeting the underemployed age group of 25-34 year olds, who didn't realize what options were available to them and now need training.
Lynn O’Mara will be speaking alongside several other local development experts at the Northern Nevada Business Weekly’s Breakfast and Business event on Thursday at the Atlantis.