After Silicon Valley, few cities know the benefits of the tech boom better than New York. "Silicon Alley" is now home to hundreds of tech startups, helping to diversify an economy that for many years was undeniably reliant on Wall Street's might. In fact, NYC recently eclipsed Boston as the nation's number two hub for Internet and mobile technologies, with a 29 percent increase in area IT jobs, according to the Center for an Urban Future.
This embrace of tech is no accident. Public and private initiatives alike have encouraged tech growth over the last several years, including WiredNYC (which will grant broadband infrastructure to hundreds of buildings over the next two years) and Cornell's plans, in partnership with Technion (Israel's MIT equivalent), to develop a high-tech campus on Roosevelt Island. This increase in jobs, private financing and public tech infrastructure has played a major role in helping decrease the city's unemployment rate, from 10.4 percent in January 2010 to 8.8 percent in 2012.
For example, the app economy (where companies form to create applications for Apple, Android and Facebook, among other platforms) alone has created an estimated 466,000 jobs. Some of these jobs are part-time gigs for developers looking to supplement their income, and some lead to jackpots (like Ethan Nicholas' "iShoot" app, which earned him more than $1 million in revenue from the iTunes store).
New York City lawmakers know that in order for this local tech boom to continue, they must prepare the city and its people to handle the increased needs of the industry. In an extensive report compiled by Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer, a number of massive public works projects were suggested as a means to "foster the entrepreneurial ecosystem and create a pipeline of jobs for working families."
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