May 30, 2023

The economic diversification of Clark County, Nevada

As home to the nation’s most famous entertainment district — the Las Vegas Strip — hospitality has remained a steadfast industry in Southern Nevada for decades. However, through its many partnerships and the incentivization of high-skill and high-wage industries, Clark County has worked to grow other budding sectors in the region. With a focus on economic diversification and quality job creation, the Southern Nevada community is seeing unprecedented growth and an ever-expanding list of career opportunities for its burgeoning population.

In 2001, The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) — which has predicted Southern Nevada’s population economic growth for nearly 30 years —predicted Clark County’s population would reach an estimated 2.3 million by 2022. As it currently stands, the county’s population is approximately 2,359,718, and it’s expected to add another million people to the region by 2060.

The CBER’s predictions are also helping the county identify the number of workers it can expect in future and the industries these individuals will support. These insights have enabled Southern Nevada to home in on several areas with development potential, including industries like information technology and clean energy. Together, the business leaders and organizations of the Clark County community are working to build a more resilient, diversified economy that shines bright beyond the lights of the Las Vegas Strip.

Readying the next generation of talent

A more diversified Clark County economy begins with education. To align the region’s workforce with employer needs, the community has been intentional in its focus on workforce development.

For example, the Clark County School District (CCSD) has developed industry-relevant curriculum throughout its schools, creating stronger ties with training centers, universities, colleges and regional employers. Magnet schools and career technical academies (CTA) within Southern Nevada are also playing an essential role in workforce development as students within them have access to several programs such as FutuReady, which connects students with tours, mentoring and apprenticeship opportunities at Clark County businesses.

There’s also Workforce Connections, Southern Nevada’s local Workforce Development Board (LWDB). that helps bridge the gap between employers and job seekers in the community. Additionally, higher education institutions like the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) provide a steady stream of highly skilled, highly educated talent to the region.

Elevating budding industries in Southern Nevada

To encourage economic diversity, Clark County has identified key industries that align with its workforce and other regional assets. More specifically, the county is focused on expanding industry clusters in advanced manufacturing, health and life sciences and technology.

Clark County’s manufacturing industry already includes over 1,000 establishments and a workforce of more than 20,000 people. The sector has seen impressive growth over the last decade, with a 51.7% increase in jobs from 2011-2021.

Additionally, healthcare employment has grown by 54.9% in the last decade. Bolstered by renowned programs at several universities and colleges, including UNLV’s Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine, the region is steadily establishing a pipeline of doctors, nurses and researchers to support the attraction of innovative life science-based businesses.

Another exciting area of growth is the county’s burgeoning tech center, which includes the 122-acre UNLV Harry Reid Research and Technology Park, home to Black Fire Innovation. This think tank from UNLV services businesses, freelancers and consultants. Innovative tech-based companies like Motional and Halo.Car have also expanded and scaled operations in the region, as Southern Nevada offers one of the lowest high-tech operating costs in the nation.

A leader in water conservation

A reliable and sustainable water supply is critical for businesses. Southern Nevada’s desert surroundings have inspired the region’s drive toward sustainability, resulting in the community becoming a leader in water conversation.

Since its creation in 1991, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) has focused on managing water resources and developing conservation strategies for the Las Vegas Valley and surrounding areas. Through financial incentivization, SNWA’s Water Efficient Technologies (WET) program encourages businesses and residential property owners to install water-efficient devices and technologies. The program has helped participating businesses save over 19 billion gallons of water since 2001.

In addition, Southern Nevada has implemented strict watering schedules and regulations for outdoor water use, and SNWA offers educational programs to schools and businesses to promote water conservation practices.

The construction of the third intake at Lake Mead, which allows SNWA to access deeper water levels in the lake, ensures a reliable water supply even during times of drought. As Southern Nevada’s primary water source, the third intake’s construction has helped SNWA conserve water by increasing water availability, improving water quality, and reducing water losses. Since 2002, the region’s use of Colorado River water has decreased by nearly 26%, despite a rapidly growing population.

Support for entrepreneurs and small business owners

Taking a cue from launchpad cities like Austin, Chicago and San Francisco, Southern Nevada has worked to develop a strong startup culture with ample resources for entrepreneurs in the region.

StartUpNV, a nonprofit incubator, is helping foster a diverse startup ecosystem. Earlier this year, they partnered with the Clark County Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED) to create the Incubate Vegas Program. The program offers business development opportunities and startup incubation services to the county’s first-time entrepreneurs and small business owners.

The OCED has also developed a robust training curriculum through its Small Business Opportunity Program (SBOP). Designed around proven best practices in business, SBOP aims to help small business owners increase capacity and compete for government contracts. The program includes instruction, mentoring, coaching and relationship-building training.

Additionally, the Nevada Small Business Development Center (NSBDC) offers free and low-cost resources, training and counseling services to entrepreneurs and small business owners. The NSBDC supports the more critical aspects of business development, such as access to capital and market research and crafting business plans and marketing strategies.

Similarly, the Urban Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization serving small businesses, particularly those owned by minorities in the Southern Nevada community. The Chamber’s services include access to capital and other resources, education, training and business networking opportunities.

Known as a place that gets things done, Clark County continues to forge ahead in building a diversified economy that sets the region up for long-term prosperity. If you are a business leader considering relocating or expanding your operations in Southern Nevada, the OCED can provide you with the resources and connections to find business success in Clark County.

Learn more about the region’s competitive advantages and connect with our team today.


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