Five Cities Making Tech News in 2012

    In a report released in August, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute made the point that tech jobs are everywhere — not just in Silicon Valley. These five cities — not your usual suspects — have been brimming with exciting tech news during 2012.

    Chicago — There’s been a blizzard of tech news out of the Windy City. Google moving subsidiary Motorola Mobility downtown. Ditto for Nokia’s mapping unit. Tech firms committing to creating 2,000 jobs by 2015. More startups taking up residence in the Merchandise Mart. And plans for a a super-high-speed “gigabit” network for business users in 15 commercial corridors to attract more business to the city.

    Philadelphia — A tech corridor called N3RD Street (“Nerd” Street, get it?) in Philly’s Old City North Third Street neighborhood has given Philly a boost. A central force is Independents Hall, a co-working space described as a talent pool for many of the companies. In addition to 21 tech companies there, you’ll find companies that feature some Web component including 13 design studios, 17 marketing agencies, 18 architectural and engineering firms, and 13 photo, video and commercial art businesses.

    Hillsboro, Ore. — Intel is planning a major expansion and retooling, including a 1.1-million-square foot research factory called D1X Mod 2, reports Oregon Live. Already Oregon’s largest employer, with about 17,000 on its payroll in the suburban Portland area, the new expansion represents a renewed push to stay relevant in the smartphone/tablet era. There’s no word on the number of new jobs to be created there, though this post puts it at “hundreds.”

    Wichita, Kan. — A new report from the Bay Area Council Economic Institute ranks Wichita among the top metro areas in the nation in high-tech jobs. It says 14.8 percent of jobs there are high tech. Though Wichita has long been a hub of aerospace work, it’s making a name for itself in pure IT opportunities as well. Storage and data management vendor NetApp plans to add more than 400 new jobs there over the next five years, focused on product development for its E-Series line and customer support.

    Columbus, Ohio — With Ohio home to 27 Fortune 500 and 57 Fortune 1,000 companies, the Buckeye State is a burgeoning tech sector. Most recently, IBM announced plans to set up an advanced analytics center that will add 500 jobs in the next three years. Growing with the need for new IT workers, the Creating IT Futures Foundation, an offshoot of the IT industry association CompTIA, made Columbus its third city for training underrepresented groups for entry-level IT work in its IT-Ready Apprentice Program.

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