New jobs, expanded facilities part of Triangle transformation

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The past few months have seen a flurry of large-scale jobs announcements in the Triangle, with some of the world's biggest companies choosing to open or expand operations.

"When we see tech companies or life science companies come to the market, it really builds on the clustering that's already here. And I think that's really important. It creates its own force, its own momentum. More companies that come, more companies that start, more companies that grow and thrive here, more talent comes. The more talent comes, the more start or thrive or grow. Again, it's that virtuous cycle," said Michael Haley, Executive Director of Wake County Economic Development.

Apple, Google, Fidelity Investments, and Tergus Pharma have shared plans to add jobs in the region, which Haley credits in part to the success of local companies like Red Hat and Pendo helping establish the area's bona fides.

"I think that's the important access of these. It's building on what's already in place," Haley explained.

Many of these jobs will be high-paying, with Haley hoping the disposable income could aid small businesses, many of which have been severely negatively affected by the pandemic.

"They want to go and they want to shop local. They want to go to local makers or local restaurants, local entrepreneurs. That's where they want to shop, and that's really exciting because we have those options here," Haley said.

Outside the jobs announcements, Christopher Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina highlighted financial investments these companies make in the area.

"That investment amount translates into property tax revenues that can support social services, infrastructure, education. All of those types of things that need to grow along with the anticipated population growth," Chung explained.

It's growth the area is already seeing, contributing to a changing landscape across the Triangle. Homes.com reports 38.4% of homes for sale in Raleigh were built after 2000, the second-highest percentage in the country. Last month, Triangle MLS reported the region's median sales price was up 13.8% year-over-year, with the average sales price increasing by more than $50,000. These figures come in the face of staffing shortages within the construction industry.

"The business community has a stake in this as well to work with the government at a local and state level and even federal to figure out viable solutions around issues over housing affordability, transportation infrastructure. As the population grows, you want to make sure roads, bridges, and all of that can support (growth), and we don't choke on our own congestion," Chung said.

Haley and Chung agreed that the addition of companies such as Apple and Google to the Triangle can help attract future projects.

"This is setting us up very well to compete for additional job creation plans that other companies, even in unrelated industries, may have, because they see this as an attractive state and an attractive region to do business," Chung said.

"There are a wide range of opportunities available today than what it was four years ago when I started looking," said Smitha Ruddarraju, a recent Wake Tech graduate.

Ruddaraju, who majored in data science and programming support, landed a job with WakeMed on its data analytics and reporting team. Her son, a freshman at NC State, is also pursuing a career in STEM.

"I'm excited even for him as well so that he can be with us and not fly to California," Ruddarraju said.

She said she believes the presence of these companies could also influence younger students to enter the STEM field.

"It is a great motivation for us as well, knowing that such great opportunities are becoming accessible locally," said Ruddarraju, who credited her experience at Wake Tech and internship program in helping secure her job.
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.