BUILDING A STRONGER WORKFORCE THROUGH EDUCATION
There is no doubt that education and economic development go hand-in-hand. We know that efforts to build a stronger workforce begin with K-12 education, and earlier this year, we were proud to announce the addition of the Clark County School District to our board of directors, also known as the LVGEA 50.
Our team continues to advocate for strategic initiatives that aim to strengthen our education system. This includes promoting apprenticeship programs, identifying real workforce needs and implementing a coordinated and aligned workforce strategy.
We continue to see pockets of excellence in the region. Graduation rates are improving, Advanced Placement pass rates are up and our award-winning magnet schools and Career and Technical Academies are providing students with necessary skills for tomorrow. But while we have made great strides, we know there is still a lot of work to do.
In this Perspective Update newsletter, you will find a message from CCSD’s new superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara, a survey of Southern Nevada’s attitudes toward education issues and an
economic update from Applied Analysis.
GUEST COLUMNIST: DR. JESUS F. JARA
After more than two decades in public education, having the opportunity to serve as the Superintendent of the Clark County School District is truly a dream job for me. I could not be more excited to work with this community to improve our schools, and I can promise you that I will pour my heart and soul into this job every single day to do just that.
My passion for education comes from what educators did for me when I was a young immigrant kid with an uncertain future in the world. Teachers, principals and leaders set me on the path I’m on today. I know what’s possible because they made me who I am. When I arrived in this country from Venezuela, I
was 10 years old and didn’t speak a word of English. My mother, who had only a sixth-grade education, taught me that education was my ticket to realizing the American Dream. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that moms are usually right.
As I made my way through school, I became increasingly energized by the power that was unleashed for me through education. By the time I graduated, I knew I had to pay that gift forward. I became a bilingual teacher at a public school; a principal after that; and for the past six years, I was the deputy superintendent for Orange County Public Schools in Orlando – a district that faced many similar challenges as we do here in Clark County. I also learned a lot about education by being a dad to three
children. Each of them found their passion in different places. My daughter fell in love with mathematics, one of my sons was all about sports, and my other son found inspiration in a welding class.
Every child, no matter who they are or where they came from, deserves to discover whatever it is that excites them in school. All students should have a path to rich and rigorous learning that works for them. And realizing that promise in Clark County – or as I like to say, making CCSD #1 for kids – will be the driving force behind everything I do as your superintendent.
Since I officially took the reins here in June, I have committed to making myself Clark County’s listener-in-chief. I come to this job with no shortage of big ideas – and I’m eager to outline and embark upon a specific action plan for CCSD – but that plan must be informed by feedback from the wide variety of stakeholders who know this community best. That’s why I began my tenure by launching the ‘Java with Jara’ campaign – a series of intimate conversations with CCSD educators, staff, families, local business leaders and other stakeholders. I set the aggressive target of making at least 100 visits to CCSD schools and departments and holding at least 100 meetings with community members by the end of September, and I’m on track to fulfill that pledge.
As my listening tour is still ongoing, I’m not yet releasing my comprehensive agenda – but I’m already laying out some initial baseline objectives. Those include improving third-grade reading scores, enhancing college readiness, and increasing student participation in Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
I have utter confidence that we can accomplish these things, and so much more. I know there are people may be tempted to roll their eyes in cynicism when they hear me say that together, we truly can make CCSD #1 for kids. But the abundance of talent and passion I’ve seen from our team and in our community since moving to Las Vegas has only reinforced my optimism and
further fueled my determination. We’ve already had some amazing achievements in our schools, and there are plenty of places in the district where innovative approaches are yielding real results. We should not only be proud of those successes, but turn to them as inspiration for accelerating our progress and testaments to how much we can accomplish by harnessing the talent we have right here in CCSD.
Delivering the bold improvements we seek will require an ‘all hands on deck’ operation. If all of the adults in our community are working together for our 322,000 children, we can accomplish great things, and we can be the model urban school district in the country. I’m setting high expectations for everyone who has a stake in the CCSD system – but
none higher than the expectations I have set for myself. As your superintendent, I will not rest in pursuit of achieving our ambitious goals, and I fully expect the community to hold me accountable. I’m committed to being as transparent as possible and to earning the community’s trust. I vow to work tirelessly with the Board of School Trustees and CCSD staff, with principals and teachers, with parents and students, and with community and business leaders like the LVGEA, to move our district forward.
At the end of the day, everything we do is for the benefit of our students. I welcome comments and suggestions from our community. With that in mind, I hope you will join with me in conversations about public education on social media using #1forkids. Our kids
are counting on us.
The Las Vegas Perspective quarterly survey examined opinions and attitudes of the Southern Nevada workforce testing sentiments around our region’s economy. This web-based survey was commissioned by Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance and conducted between July 13, 2018 and July 19, 2018.
Since this survey is intended to poll the Clark County workforce, results remove self-selected retirees and unemployed workers as well as self-selected residents of other counties. The sample size of the survey is 500 with a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percent at the 90 percent confidence interval.
For questions about the survey results, its methodology, and its crosstabs,
please contact Anthony J. Ruiz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATED REGIONAL ECONOMIC STATISTICS
ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVE: BRIAN GORDON
The Southern Nevada economy rolled into mid-2018 riding the positive wave that has propelled it to new highs in recent years. A fast-growing employment base has served as the foundation for overall economic growth, and since matching pre-recession highs in early 2016, total employment in the Las Vegas area has set new records with nearly each passing month. Steady job creation pushed regional employment to a new milestone during the second quarter of 2018, as Las Vegas employment surpassed 1 million for the first time.
By reaching 1 million in employment, Southern Nevada joined a select group of 35 metropolitan statistical areas among the nation’s 388,
placing between Nashville, Tennessee, and San Antonio, Texas. Southern Nevada reached the milestone due to an extended period of strong job growth that began in late 2013. Since the start of 2014 through May 2018 (latest national data available), the Las Vegas area’s year-over-year job growth rate has ranked in the top 10 in 44 of the 53 months and in the top 5 in 19 months.
During that time, employment in Southern Nevada has grown by 147,400 jobs, which equates to an overall growth rate of 17.2 percent. On a compound annual basis, employment in the Las Vegas area grew by 3.8 percent per year during that same timeframe, the fifth-best growth rate
among metropolitan areas with 1 million jobs. Southern Nevada has continued to post strong employment growth numbers over the past year, as well. In the 12 months through June 2018, regional employment grew by 28,800 jobs, which translates to a 3.0 percent year-over-year growth rate. The unemployment rate fell 0.8 percentage points on the year to 4.7 percent.
Employment gains over the past year have been shared across nearly every major sector of the economy. It is probably little surprise that the construction industry is expanding the fastest in June 2018, growing 9.1 percent by adding 5,400 jobs. Other notable job-gaining industries included government
(5,900 jobs, +6.1 percent), trade, transportation and utilities (4,500 jobs, +2.6 percent), education and health services (3,500 jobs, +3.6 percent) and leisure and hospitality (3,200 jobs, +1.1 percent).
While construction employment is once again surging amid Southern Nevada’s economic expansion, the industry’s share of employment today illustrates the ongoing diversification of the regional economy. For perspective, we can compare the industrial employment composition of today to that of May 1995, when the Las Vegas area reached the 500,000 employment milestone. Construction then accounted for 9.3 percent of all jobs; today it is 2.8 percentage points lower at 6.5 percent. Another significant shift is evident in the leisure and hospitality industry, which
supported 34.1 percent of all jobs 23 years ago. Today that industry remains the primary regional employer, yet accounts for 29.5 percent of all jobs. Notable job share gainers include the education and health services sector, which expanded its employment share from 6.0 percent to 10.0 percent, and the professional and business services sector, which grew from 10.0 percent to 14.0 percent of employment. This shift of employment between industries is reflected in the Hachman Index, a national measure of economic diversity where a value of 100 is a balanced economy. Southern Nevada’s Index score in May 1995 was 52.7 and today stands at 72.4.
These numbers validate ongoing regional and state-level efforts to not only support new job creation and business growth, but to
recruit, nurture and grow businesses from across the economic spectrum that will further diversify and strengthen the Southern Nevada economy for the many milestones ahead.
EACH OF THESE NEWSLETTERS FEATURES:
- An introductory column by LVGEA President and Chief Executive Officer Jonas Peterson
- A guest columnist from Southern Nevada who addresses topics in the theme of the newsletter
- Data and an Economic Perspective from Applied Analysis
- Polling data and analysis of the poll
around the theme of the newsletter
- For more information about Perspective & to view this newsletter in your browser, see LVGEA.org/Perspective
The Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance and its partners in the LVGEA Perspective Council publish this newsletter on a quarterly basis. In addition to the annual research book and comprehensive economic update event in May, the Perspective quarterly newsletters address themes of Education, Infrastructure, and Regional Economic Competitiveness.
This newsletter is made possible with the support of our PERSPECTIVE Council: