The wireless communications industry is the 24th largest economy in the world, and is only projected to grow as technology advances. In the U.S. alone, the sector contributes $475 billion annually to the national economy, supporting 4.7 million jobs. In the City of Lynchburg, the wireless communications cluster exceeds the U.S. average by 84 percent. Here is an overview of the sector and how we are anticipating its growth over the next 5 years.
A Look at The Current Sector
The wireless communications and electronics sector is defined by businesses that support and boost the development of technology and infrastructure needed for the IT and wireless communications. This can include electronic components development, circuit board production, assembly and wiring manufacturing. Locally, there are an estimated 33 firms who meet this definition, with the largest firms being Harris Corporation and Innovative Wireless Technologies.
What started as a printing-press more than 125 years ago is now one of the leading innovators for wireless communication technology. Today, the Harris Corporation, one of the largest traded sector employers in Lynchburg, specializes in solutions from wireless communications equipment for government, space and air traffic organizations. Their Lynchburg location employs more than 600 local workers.
Innovative Wireless Technologies (IWT) got its start in 1997 as a spin-off from the original GE/Ericsson plant that once operated a 888,000 square foot facilitally here locally for telecommunications technology. Today, IWT is a world leader in the wireless communications sector and specialize in wireless mesh networks, mine safety communications and unattended security applications.
Where The Sector is Going
Currently, local wireless communication firms employ 1,200 workers, which is 9 times the national average, and we are only expecting that number to grow. For the next five years, we are focusing on working with local businesses to expand job creation for this sector. Right now 4,100 workers have the foundational skills needed, with strong, specialized talent for electrical engineering. This talent base is anticipated to grow by 6.6 percent by 2023. We will help encourage more expansion for this cluster by:
- Placemaking Initiatives- As the city continues to grow in population and attract workers in the science and technology sector, we are working on initiatives to support the development of healthy and vibrant neighborhoods, entertainment and recreation amenities and the continued revitalization of Downtown Lynchburg. Construction is already underway to transform Downtown into a walkable urban core that is friendly for office workers and visitor. .
- Local and State Incentives- We believe in investing into our local companies to grow. That is why we are proud, along with the Commonwealth of Virginia, to offers a variety of incentives designed to support new businesses or existing businesses planning to expand.
We are committed to making the next five years in Lynchburg a season of incredible growth for our industries, workforce and residents alike. If you want a bigger snapshot of our strategic plan, be sure to read more in our Blueprint for Opportunity.