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The Right Place releases 10-year-plan to transform GR into tech hub

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Calls for 20,000 new jobs in technology sector—10% of region's workforce

Regional economic development organization, The Right Place Tuesday announced a 10-year-strategy to transform the City of Grand Rapids into a major tech hub of the Midwest.

Right Place officials say they want to see Grand Rapids, Michigan follow in the footsteps of cities like San Francisco, California, Austin, Texas, or Buffalo, New York; cities where technology companies are one of the primary driving forces of economic growth.

To achieve this, The Right Place Tuesday says its decade long strategic plan calls for the tech sector to grow to 10% of all regional employment while adding more than 20,000 jobs over the next decade.

“You look up job openings, and tech jobs are the hardest to fill. And if we do not find a pathway to develop that talent here, companies might choose to hire talent elsewhere or put their technology firms in other markets.”

Randy Thelen is the CEO of Right Place. He says the 10-year-strategy and corresponding recommendations have been segmented into three categories: Acquiring talent in the tech sector, building an ecosystem of entrepreneurs and business incubators, with an emphazing on business growth.

“Some of it will be welcoming new tech companies to the market to make us stronger,” Thelen said. “The other piece will be how do we use technology to make our existing companies that much better.”

Thelen says the newly launched strategy is the product of more than six months of intensive research and strategic planning with hundreds of business community, education, and other leaders across the region.

The 10-year-plan unofficially kicks off this month with the Grand Rapids Tech Week convention on September 21st-24th.

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