2022 was a transition year for tech in the Triangle area. Knox St. Studios, through our programs + partnerships have witnessed a strong interest in inclusive & innovative growth both from current Triangle Tech Firms as well as firms coming to the area. There are over 45,000 tech jobs in the triangle from the WRAL Tech Wire August 22' monthly jobs report. This correlates to big investment, big opportunity, but also big room to work hard to get it right and make it inclusive!
In 2021 over 15 companies moved to the area and 50 have expanded, creating 8,000 new jobs and investing over $3.B into the area. This growth can be seen in large international companies like Apple. This accelerated growth can also be seen in the number of new tech companies with under 10 people doing innovative tech products in medicine, energy, and transportation. One way to think about this growth, 5 years ago you could drive around the Triangle and you would have been hard pressed to see an EV you may have seen one, maybe two. Now you see them everywhere. For Knox St. Studios this analogy highlights how tech growth is changing the fabric of the Triangle. At Knox St. Studios we want to engage people of color to be a part of this growing tech landscape.
We are aware that for some career seekers there is an apprehension about how this new growth is going to affect their careers and our community. People of color have a fear that the new growth will not benefit them and we will be left out. Government officials have also expressed this concern so it is not unfounded fear. These concerns are born out of a lack of trust and non a shared vision on what the community will evolve into. There is hope that with continued conversations and thoughtful processes more equity can be created with changes tech is to our community.
Where the conversations are happening ----there is hope that intersection of growing technology and our communities expectations will create better outcomes for all. We at Knox St. Studios believe this is an opportunity to generate economic impact (jobs & entrepreneurship). By bringing together thought leaders and community partners we listen to find the points of shared goals. Goals of having technology solve daily problems, as well as helping us connect with co-workers, family, friends, and government creates an healthy and sustainable environment that is better for all.
Engaging tech firms can seem like an obvious answer but there are many ways to go about it. We believe this work means collaborating to understand the individual tech firms product(s), core market, objectives, and community impact goals. This work should be done not just with the large multinational tech firm but with the medium size and start ups as well. Engaging in the conversation will give us a better sense of the needs today and tomorrow. Knox St. Studios also believes reaching out to tech firms led by people of color is another important group to engage with. These tech firms will have a unique perspective and with the boarder community support will be primed for the growth seen in the community in general.
Knox St. Studios is actively soliciting partners (Tech Firms, Startups, Community Orgs, Educational Institutions) to create alignment across the communities many talents, objectives, and resources to foster an more inclusive & innovative community/economy.
Feel free to reach out to me, Richard Brown to continue the conversation (Richard@knoxststudios.org)