A Regional High-Tech Powerhouse

When you think of the top locations that are churning out advancements in technology do you also immediately think of Florida’s Space Coast? You will now.

Advanced Industries Flourish

From the hills of Silicon Valley, to the automotive innovation rolling off production lines in Detroit, to the Ivy League capital of the country in Boston, to an entrepreneurial epicenter in Seattle, some of the biggest advancements in technology to be introduced to the world have been born from these talent-rich cluster regions.

But when you think of the top locations that are churning out advancements in technology do you also immediately think of Florida’s Space Coast? You will now.  

In a recently released Brookings Institute report, America’s Advanced Industries: What They Are, Where They Are, and Why They Matter, focused on areas with the highest concentrations of advanced technology industries, Brevard County made its presence known as a high-tech powerhouse near the top of the list at No. 7.

The Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville metro was listed in impressive company with heavy technology hitters like San Jose, Seattle, and San Francisco, and it beat out Boston, Houston and San Diego to round out the top 10.

50 Industries Rolled Into One

While not exactly a commonly known term, over 50 industries ranging from manufacturing, such as automotive and aerospace, to high-tech services, such as computer software and computer system design, encompass what is known as Advanced Industries. The sector is deeply engrained with technology research and development (R&D) and STEM, (science, technology, engineering, and math) areas where Brevard maintains a strong foothold. 

Those employed in these industries are driving innovation in the United States. The 50 industries within this sector directly employ 12.2 million Americans and, factoring in both direct and indirect employment, supports over one-quarter of all U.S. jobs. The average advanced industry worker earns nearly twice as much as the average worker in other industries — nearly $90,000. In Brevard County, Advanced Industries employ nearly 26,570 workers and contribute $3.9 billion in economic expenditures.

Focus on STEM for the Next Generation

Being measured against the largest metropolitan areas in the country is a recognition that solidifies the effort and focus we have placed on growing a stronger, more competitive Advanced Industries sector. Even today, the skill sets required for these STEM-related jobs continue to evolve. This shift makes it imperative that we continue to partner with higher education institutions, public schools and even industry, to grow awareness of careers in this growing sector.

With a high-technology focus and high concentration of innovative workforce, the Space Coast is routinely included in a number of rankings and lists focusing on high-tech talent including recent recognition from Forbes magazine, the Milken Institute, Area Development magazine and more. 

This report is helping to tell the story of our community’s high-tech nature, a story we’ve lived and breathed for decades. And with the right amount of publicity, it’s a message we are bringing directly to relocating companies looking for an advanced workforce and flourishing industrial base. 

Advanced Industries Sector By the Numbers:

  • Employs 80 percent of the nation’s engineers
  • Performs 90 percent of private-sector R&D
  • Generates approximately 85 percent of all U.S. patents
  • Accounts for 60 percent of U.S. exports
  • Average advanced industries worker earns $90,000 in total compensation, nearly twice as much as the average worker outside of the sector


Head-LyndaWeathermanAbout the Author

Lynda Weatherman is president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast.



This article appears in the July 2015 issue of i4 Business.
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i4 Business

i4 Business magazine has become one of the most trusted voices for and about the Central Florida business community. Each month through our print and digital platforms, we provide access to meet, to learn from and to learn about some of the incredible entrepreneurs and business leaders who are shaping our region.

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