By Elaine Boylan, December 23, 2015
Fabulous Las Vegas. It’s even hotter and richer than you’ve heard! Opulent and over-the-top, Vegas is the stuff of legend – with gorgeous dancing girls, Broadway-caliber entertainment, kitschy marriage chapels, and enough glitz and glamour to satisfy even the most starry-eyed visitor.
But what’s this? Vacationers drawn to the fun side of this desert oasis are increasingly staying for its lesser-known stable side. Can we count the 300 blue-sky days a year among the features that tempt them? Maybe it’s quality of life factors such as a relatively low cost of living, no state income tax, or Las Vegas’s proximity to a more carefree lifestyle. Could the rise in population be driven by the area’s median home price of $160,200? Boasting some of the finest championship golf courses in the world, venues abound for outdoor enthusiasts (hiking trails, bicycle paths and marinas) within a few miles of the city. Lake Mead, just 24 miles southeast of the Vegas Strip, is a haven for boating, skiing, fishing and other outdoor pursuits
Initially drawn by the array of leisure activities and entertainment, a new generation is finding that the city and its family-friendly environs are unrivaled in terms of safety and affordability. Plentiful economic opportunity doesn’t hurt, either. Las Vegas offers businesses a host of incentives to settle here. If you’re in the market to grow your enterprise, Las Vegas: The Entertainment Capital of the World counts itself among the best places to live in the U.S. The city offers financial enticements including tax deferrals, renewable energy abatements, and industrial development bonds. Combined with motivated jobseekers who initially arrive seeking excitement, but wind up staying for the opportunities, Las Vegas has triumphed – replacing its former ‘Sin City’ reputation with a renewed vigor and purpose. Job preparation, applicant screening, as well as career enhancement programs offered by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation benefit both employers and the influx of young, enthusiastic talent who are looking for reasons to stay. People love the abundance of outdoor activities for adults and children alike, and are willing to learn new skill sets to remain competitive in this booming hub.
Las Vegas’ diverse employment scene – bridging hospitality, construction, utilities and transportation industries, to the finance, government, arts and education sectors – is responsible for employing hundreds of thousands. Technical talent is also being lured by a coalition of entrepreneurial startups, with its Downtown Container Park serving as launching pad to a plethora of small businesses. While the single largest employer in the area is Clark County School District, most indicators still list MGM, Caesar’s and Wynn Resorts among Las Vegas’s largest employers. So while visitors know what makes Las Vegas appealing, transience has been swapped for a more stable, active and upwardly-mobile population led by young families lured by the warmth, the sunshine, and the improved financial prospects.
Interestingly, Las Vegas is gaining steam on its new reputation as an economic development leader in the western U.S. Transitioning from its historical bedrock (the hotel / hospitality industry) to its future in industries spanning from financial and technical consulting to health care and social services will ensure that Las Vegas stays ahead of the pack. Cities that have been slower to embrace change will be left in the desert dust as Vegas’ fortunes – and those of its diverse inhabitants and industries – rise to the top.
Senior Associate Director, Center for Career Development
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