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I came across an article the other day that really misses the point of data centers and jobs. It was in the Plain Dealer, Cleveland’s newspaper and I quote “Data centers generally have few employees, so they create little traffic.”
I would invite the author of this story to visit our Canton data center and as we grow, our new Cleveland facility, and she would see a different story. Yes, we have “only” sixteen employees (although each and every one of them is a taxpayer and contributing to the economy) and will add 5 more with the opening of our Cleveland offices and data center in 2015. The more significant, bigger picture view of a data center’s economic contribution to a local economy is the job multiplier accompanying the data center.
You see, more than 2,200 IT technicians came to work at our Canton data center last year. That is more than 130x our employee base. Each and every IT professional relies on a data center like Canton or Cleveland’s SecureData 365 for employment. Should their company house its IT infrastructure in Nashville, Omaha, or Dallas it is likely that these local IT workers would be working in a different, lesser paying field, living elsewhere, or unemployed altogether.
Instead, the data centers in Northeast Ohio are helping to drive near zero unemployment in the IT sector – and since there is near zero unemployment in this sector, the jobs pay very well (no need for the government to mandate a minimum wage here as the supply is short and the demand is high for these jobs and associated skills). In fact of the 223,000 jobs the economy created last month (June),25% of those jobs were in IT and all in the high 5 digit or low six digit salaries. Out of necessity as well as good fortune we’ve created an internship program to train IT professionals to either work at one of our data centers or one of our clients (or future clients).
So back to the article in the Plain Dealer and the “limited” jobs created by data centers. Our facility in Cleveland officially opened May 1st and is the largest multi-tenant uptime institute certified tier 3 data center in the State with 330,000 square feet with room for expansion. That’s great – but what does it mean? We estimate that 2,000 IT professionals will call the Cleveland data center “home” to their IT infrastructure.
Opening our new data center in Cleveland has already attracted the interest of several businesses that previously moved their IT infrastructure (and the jobs that went with it) out of State. Our data center, which may top out at 25 SecureData 365 employees, has a job multiplier effect as our data center’s capabilities and rich fiber background is bringing jobs home and creating opportunities that previously didn’t exist in Cleveland. That sounds like an economic developer’s dream – and perhaps a big reason the Cleveland Technology Center received tax incentives that include no sales tax on equipment purchased infrastructure in Cleveland. The state has agreed that any new customer IT equipment placed in the center in the next fifteen years will be eligible for exemption from the state’s 8% sales tax.
We’d love to see you at either our data center in Cleveland or Canton – you can meet any of our tax-paying handful of employees… and you might bump into a colleague or three.