Achieving a dramatic level of nearly 400% growth in certain STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs in a little over a decade, Martin County in southern Indiana has been designated as the county possessing the 4th highest level of STEM-related jobs in the nation, according to research conducted by the Economic Modeling Specialists group (EMSI) in Moscow, Idaho.
New primary research released earlier this month and in May shows Martin County in company with counties that are home to two of the nation’s top Department of Energy laboratories in Los Alamos, New Mexico (ranked No. 1 in the nation with a $2.2 billion energy research facility) and Butte, Idaho (ranked No. 2 with the presence of the Idaho National Laboratory, a nuclear energy and reactor testing facility). Ranked just ahead of Martin County was King George, Virginia. King George county is home to the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren Division.
Martin County (pop. 10,334) is home to both the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane Division and a component of the WestGate @ Crane Technology Park, which includes top U.S. commercial defense contractors and OEMs such as SAIC, CTC and Exelis/ITT.
“While Martin County is one of the smallest counties in Indiana with regard to population, this research shows that the county’s employers possess considerable national workforce clout,” said Tim Kinder, executive director of the Martin County Alliance. “STEM-related jobs pay much higher than the national and state averages, ranging from $26 to $50 an hour in Martin County,” he continued.
“The concentrated presence of these STEM-related jobs makes the entire region more attractive, as the quality of workforce is critical for companies considering the possibility of relocating or expanding their businesses,” said R.J. Reynolds, president and CEO of Radius Indiana. “It is exciting that Martin County ranks higher than either the California county with the Silicon Valley or the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, according to the EMSI data.”
The higher the level of STEM-related jobs, the higher the potential exists for sector-changing innovation, according to Joshua Wright, the editor of the EMSI report.
The NSWC Crane (located on the 100-square-mile NSA facility in southern Indiana) and NSWC Dahlgren facilities are part of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), which divisions build and support the nation’s fleet of ships and combat systems. According to the command’s official Web site, NAVSEA accounts for nearly one-fifth of the U.S. Navy’s federal budget.
The Martin County region includes about 4,400 federal employees at NSWC Crane and the related commands at the Crane NSA facility, and more than 2,000 technology and engineering professionals employed in related support positions in the area.
Martin County ranked higher than Durham, North Carolina, which county is home to the internationally renowned Research Triangle Park and ranked 8th overall.
Los Angeles county in California actually has the highest number of STEM-related jobs overall (nearly a quarter of a million), but Santa Clara County in central California (ranked fifth behind Martin County Indiana) ranked higher because of the inclusion of the Silicon Valley.
EMSI provides research for a variety of national clients, and the Martin County research data was developed using STEM definitions provided by the Praxis Strategy Group, which produces the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Enterprising States” annual report.
The new EMSI data showed that employers in Martin County (federal and civil) had achieved a 392% growth rate over 2001 in computer software engineers, 221% growth in civil engineers, 185% growth in computer support specialists, 183% growth in computer programmers and 133% growth in electrical engineers.
In terms of measuring states in overall STEM-related job concentration, the EMSI data analysis ranked the Washington, D.C. area as the top region for STEM-related jobs, followed by the states of Washington and Virginia.
Indiana ranked 36th overall in STEM-related jobs, with a 2% net loss overall of STEM-related jobs since 2001, according to Wright of EMSI.