Editor’s Note: Brooks Raiford is the president and CEO of the North Carolina Technology Association, NC TECH.  This post is one portion of a WRAL TechWire series on gratitude, published in November 2021.  

RALEIGH – As we pause this week to give thanks for the things that are important to us, it should be noted how technology plays an integral role in the lives of North Carolinians.

First, the tech sector in general has been a key driver of growth in jobs, wages, and economic health in our State.  Tech jobs not only have much higher wages on average, these jobs have a multiplier effect, with each tech job generating nearly three additional jobs across sectors (retail, service, hospitality, and more).  Those additional jobs provide a living for many thousands of fellow citizens and their families.

It’s not just the large metro areas that benefit; Realtors, economic developers, and others in many rural/coastal/mountain areas report a surge in economic activity (real estate, tourism, etc.) driven by the spending of tech workers who have a home base in larger cities.

Then there is technology itself—so many families are grateful for the advances in medical technology and the lives that are improved or even saved as a result; many employees have been able to continue to earn a living by working remotely thanks to technology; and relatives/friends near and far are able to stay connected thanks to technology.

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And just this past week, our state’s elected leaders were able to come to agreement for the first time in years on a state budget that has once-in-a-generation levels of funding for expansion of high-speed internet to underserved areas, enhanced support for education at all levels including acceleration of providing a qualified computer science teacher in all public middle and high schools, and more.  A driving factor in passing the budget was a bipartisan commitment to investing heavily in technology policies and infrastructure designed to improve people’s lives.

So while technology can seem overwhelming and at times controversial, North Carolinians benefit immensely from all that technology has to offer.