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Inspiring Tech Economics

Dr Marcus Bright Headshot 213591 637e62cb81db6

One could argue that in many areas across the country where the tech sector is exploding that it is an economic imperative for more people to participate in the lucrative career opportunities that are within the space. For populations that have been historically excluded from many wealth building opportunities even more is at stake as inflation and the rapidly accelerating costs of living increase financial pressure. 

For various reasons, people of color have been consistently overrepresented in the low wage labor market including bias, discrimination, deficits in social capital, and lack of access to equitable educational opportunities. 

There is little doubt that money is a significant factor in why people may pursue careers in tech and why it is quickly becoming an economic imperative for those who have the desire and discipline to qualify themselves for prosperity in the space to be provided opportunities. Fields like engineering, computer science, and the like earn anywhere from 20% to 85% more than the average salary depending on what state people are located according to data compiled by business.orgDr. Marcus BrightDr. Marcus Bright

The focus on earned wages is more pronounced for populations that have been historically excluded from many wealth building opportunities because they are more often faced with having to purchase major assets like homes with their own income versus those who are able to make these kinds of acquisitions with significant assistance from wealth that has been funneled down to them from previous generations. 

A recent article in Bloomberg highlighted the growing number of people who are getting down payments or in some cases entire houses financed from parents. “Parents are increasingly helping their adult children purchase homes, whether that means co-signing a mortgage, giving money for a down payment or buying the property outright, according to real estate agents across the country” per their reporting.

These are the kinds of wealth transfers that propel a person far beyond what they earn on their jobs. These transfers are often hidden as the Bloomberg piece alludes to in stating that “it’s hard to determine exactly how many buyers are receiving help from their parents, in part because few are willing to discuss how they’re paying for a new home.”

Without the advantage of in-life wealth transfers that can subsidize college costs, cars, private school payments, credit card payments, medical bills, business start-up money, housing, and other significant purchases; increased integration into the tech sector and other higher income industries becomes even more important.

A shift from being underrepresented to overrepresented in higher paying career fields can be a game changer as it pertains to the economic development of historically marginalized communities. This shift can happen by identifying the undervalued assets in these communities beginning with those who have the ability to excel in tech sector careers but may not know it or have the proper systems and supports in place to bring it to fruition. 

An inflection point is imminent in several metro areas like Miami, Austin, Nashville, and Orlando. Rents in Miami, for example, went up almost 41% from April 2021 to April 2022 according to Corelogic. Principal economist at Corelogic, Molly Boesel, was quoted in a Bloomberg article saying that “we expect single-family rent growth to continue to increase at a rapid pace throughout 2022.”  Cities that used to be affordable for the middle and working classes may only be in reach for very high-income earners or those who are able to make purchases with wealth that has been passed down from previous generations. There is a rapidly closing window for people who are outside of those two categories or don’t already own housing in certain areas to be able to secure it on their own. 

For these reasons and more, infrastructures of opportunity that provide supported pathways for people to gain the credentials and social capital to successfully integrate into gainful tech sector employment should be a key economic development strategy. 

Dr. Marcus Bright is a scholar and social impact strategist.


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