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Technology Investment Needed for Job Creation

Investing in education--particularly in math, science, engineering and technology--and investing in technology innovation--are important in helping the US retain its leadership as a technology innovator, according to a nationwide Citibank survey about consumer optimism.

The survey also showed a 7 point increase in optimism about the economic future since August, with nearly half of American consumers (48 percent) expecting local business conditions to improve over the next year.

Assessments of local economic conditions remains negative. Just 26 percent of consumers believe that the economic downturn has reached its bottom while nearly seven in 10 Americans believe the economy hasn't yet hit bottom.

'App Economy' Is Creating New Jobs

While the US jobs picture may be bleak, the proliferation of Facebook and mobile technology applications has spawned an entirely new industry - dubbed the "App Economy" -- that has added at least 182,000 new jobs and contributed more than $12.19 billion in wages and benefits to the US economy this year, according to new research from the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. Using more aggressive estimates, the Facebook App Economy created a total of 235,644 jobs, adding a value of $15.71 billion to the economy.

Professors at the Smith School's Center for Digital Innovation, Technology, and Strategy have for the first time been able to quantify that Facebook's App Economy has created more than 53,000 new jobs in software companies who make applications for the Facebook Platform. Apps include everything from productivity tools to popular games like "Farmville" that users interact with on Facebook.

Il-Horn Hann and Siva Viswanathan, co-directors of the center and associate professors of information systems, measured the number of people employed to build, develop and consult on Facebook applications. Hann and Viswanathan used data on apps provided by Facebook.

The App Economy has also led to job creation at businesses that supply app developers, and in sectors that reap the benefits of increased household spending by app developers and suppliers from new app economy jobs. Hann and Viswanathan conducted an economic impact analysis to estimate that between 129,000 to more than 182,000 people are employed in jobs supported by the app economy.

The researchers calculated the sum of wages and benefits earned by those employed in and supported by the app economy to total between $12.19 billion to $15.71 billion.

"Our findings confirm that social media platforms have created a thriving new industry," said Hann. "As Facebook and other platforms grow, we will continue to see job growth and the ripple effects of these advances in the U.S. economy."

Silicon Valley Weighs in on Job Creation

TechNet, the bipartisan policy and political network of CEOs that promotes the growth of the innovation economy, co-hosted an event with President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to discuss how the nation can spur job creation through entrepreneurship and innovation.

During the event, the Jobs Council members solicited feedback from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs about how the public and private sectors can partner to encourage innovation and create jobs. The discussion also focused on high-growth entrepreneurship businesses and opportunities, regulatory barriers to success, and the importance of innovation in strengthening the US economy.

"Innovation and entrepreneurship are vital to growing jobs and strengthening the US economy," said Rey Ramsey, president and CEO of TechNet. "A recent Kauffman Foundation study found that over the last 30 years, private sector job creation has been concentrated amongst young, high-growth companies. No matter what type of business, all of these companies were built on a foundation of innovation and entrepreneurship."

In attendance were Jobs Council members Steve Case, former AOL CEO; Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers Partner John Doerr; and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Participating business and policy leaders included Ramsey, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, US CTO Aneesh Chopra, and VMware CTO Steve Herrod.

Dell Centers Add Jobs in Ireland

Dell will establish a Cloud Research and Development Centre in Dublin and operate a Dell Solution Centre at the company’s campus in Limerick.

Recruitment is currently underway at both sites for world-class software engineers, IT architects, engineers, and developers. It is expected that a total of 150 people will be recruited across both sites in the next two years.

The Cloud R&D Centre is the first of its kind for Dell and will help develop the next-generation cloud computing architecture on a global basis. The center will act as a proof of concept laboratory, helping Dell customers leverage their existing hardware platforms while driving innovation, new development work, and thought leadership in the cloud. The primary focus of the center will be developing OpenStack based capabilities, Storage-as-a-Service Solutions and Software-as-a-Service enabling technology.

The Dell Solution Centre in Limerick - the first to be launched internationally - is part of a global network of 22 centers with extensive customer-engagement capabilities, designed to give access to Dell technology and solutions experts. The center will provide a backdrop for customers to learn about Dell’s industry-focused solutions and domain expertise. At the Dell Solution Centre, Dell experts work with customers to help them make better use of their technology budgets so they can invest less on managing their infrastructure and more on technology innovation to grow their business.

Employees at the center will be involved in research and development work, IP development, IT architecture and engineering as they engage in proof-of-concept testing for customers. In addition, the center will play develop data management and virtual desktop solutions.

Software Center Proposed for Texas

Washington, D.C.-based the Advisory Board Co. has proposed opening a 70,000 square foot software center in Austin that would create about 240 jobs over 10 years, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Brian Gildea, economic development manager for the city's Office of Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services, told the newspaper that the proposed center would further help position Austin as a technology and software industry hub. An incentive package to draw the company still must be approved.

The company's proposal calls for creating 239 jobs over 10 years, with an average salary of $90,000, according to the newspaper. The company anticipates hiring about 80 percent of the employees locally, according to the agreement. In return, the city would pay the company $372,590 over 10 years, tied to meeting job-creation targets, according to the proposed agreement.

The city would pay the company $190 for each job created through 2020, as long as the Advisory Board, which employs 1,000 people, meets the requirements of the agreement. The company projects creating 50 new jobs in Austin by the end of this year, 59 in 2012, 50 in 2013, 50 in 2014 and 30 in 2015, according to the American-Statesman.

Bioscience Fuels Job Growth

Colorado's Bioscience Discovery Evaluation Grant Program (BDEGP) has invested US $14 million so far, creating 598 direct and indirect jobs with a payroll of more than $44 million. Another $68 million has been leveraged through follow-on investment, grants, and matching funds.

"Bioscience continues to play a critical role in the growth of Colorado's knowledge-based economy. Supporting early stage and startup companies and the commercialization of Colorado technologies is exactly what we need to be doing right now," said Dwayne Romero, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), which partners with the Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA) on the program.

The BDEGP addresses critical gaps in the continuum from basic science (more than $600 million to Colorado’s scientists each year), to new discoveries, to technology transfer (where no other funds exist to assess technologies), to R&D in early-stage companies (where investment funds are scarce), to new products that improve health and the environment.

A total of 106 grants have been awarded and 18 new companies have spun out of Colorado’s research institutions, with at least three others in the formation process. Through early-stage grants, 23 medical device, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, agricultural, and energy companies have been supported through the most challenging funding stages.

The BDEGP is accelerating technology transfer activity in Colorado’s research institutions. These funds provide incentives for faculty to understand the commercialization potential of their discoveries -- institution-owned intellectual property.

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