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EDAWN Readies For Robot-Driven Changes (Subscriber Content)

By John Seelmeyer
Published: Last Updated on
Inside the Tesla Gigafactory. Image: Bob Conrad.
Inside the Tesla Gigafactory. Image: Bob Conrad.

EDAWN is widening its focus to ensure the Reno-Sparks economy will thrive in a new economy dominated by artificial intelligence and robotics. Flush off big successes in bringing new employers to the region, EDAWN — formally, the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada — now wants to attract more technology companies, more corporate headquarters and more entrepreneurial startups.

Mike Kazmierski, president and CEO of EDAWN, noted that robotics could kill as many as 73 million jobs nationwide in the next decade, and Nevada ranks No. 1 among states whose workforce is most in danger of losing jobs to artificial intelligence and robotics.

Some analysts predict that a third of American workers will need to be completely retrained for new jobs, and more than half of the workforce will need either complete re-training or some education in new skills to hold jobs in the new economy.

EDAWN already is scoring successes with its focus on technology jobs. The nonprofit attracted more than 2,000 jobs to the region last year, and more than third of them were with companies involved in technology, finance or aerospace.

Mike Kazmierski of EDAWN speaking in 2018. Image: Bob Conrad.
Mike Kazmierski of EDAWN speaking in 2018. Image: Bob Conrad.

In the next few months, EDAWN expects announcements from seven companies relocating to the Reno area. Technology outfits account for about 80 percent of the 1,085 jobs those new companies will bring.

Kazmierski told a crowd of more than 700 at EDAWN’s Economic Update event that the economic development agency is working with schools to develop skills students will need in the new economy. The agency is also busily wooing technology startups and technology professionals to strengthen the region’s web of entrepreneurial companies.

“What’s coming down the pike is going to smack a lot of us in the face if we don’t get ready for it,” the EDAWN executive said.

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