By STEVEN G. ZYLSTRA | AZBigMedia
Maricopa County continues to be the fastest-growing county in the nation for population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many leaders in the area have pointed to our technology ecosystem as the key catalyst for this growth. As a state, we are outpacing some of the nation’s largest technology hubs for tech-based job creation and are among the leaders in the Southwest in technology wages. And this may surprise you: For the first time in Arizona’s history, there are more manufacturing jobs than construction.
A large reason for Arizona’s growth in the technology sector can be attributed to the East Valley. Tempe, Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert are home to some of the most prominent technology companies in the world, a thriving startup ecosystem and some of the nation’s top post-secondary and high school educational institutions for STEM.
While the East Valley has historically been a longtime base for large technology companies such as Motorola and Intel, the growth of talent and innovation began to explode when it became one of the first regions in the Southwest to embrace entrepreneurial infrastructure like accelerators, co-working spaces and incubators through organizations like Gangplank and Tech Shop. Around the same time, Arizona State University (ASU) began to bolster its engineering and entrepreneurial education programs in Tempe and Mesa.