“It was business as usual – e-Business that is, when Gov. Gary Locke came to downtown Tacoma last Thursday to proclaim Aug. 24 the first annual E-Business Day.The city that aptly titles itself the Most Wired City in America has 300 high-tech companies settling in – 100 within the last 18 months, according to John Holtermann, chairman of the board of directors of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce.In Locke’s E-Day speech at Theatre Square, he used the bustling nearby Farmer’s Market as a comparison to the changes taking place in commerce locally, nationally, and internationally. Times are changing in this new century from a resource-based economy to the economy of the mind.While he credited the Washington Software Alliance for launching the South Sound Chapter to make Tacoma home to innovative computer businesses, Locke pointed out that many of the newest jobs in the fast-growing industry are held by individuals trained out-of-state. Washington citizens want those jobs in technology, he said, but we have a skills gap. New slots have been created in colleges and tech schools to confer students with the appropriate degrees for those jobs. We constantly need to retrain and upgrade their skills..He said through the collaborative partnership of technology and education, Washington’s economic strength was being sustained. We’re working together to create this area’s technology assets. Tacoma is the center of the I-5 corridor and a leading example of that collaboration.Locke said a state education and technology summit would be held Sept. 29 to address specific measures to be sure our students and citizens will meet the growth of the industry. I am confident we will move into the 21st century high tech economy. “
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