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Poor education in So. Nevada scares prospective businesses | News

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Poor education in So. Nevada scares prospective businesses

LAS VEGAS -- The poor quality of the Southern Nevada school system may be keeping away prospective businesses that wanted to move to Las Vegas.

Earlier this year the Children's Advocacy Alliance gave Nevada's education system a failing grade. Out of every state in the country, Nevada ranked last in kids going to pre-school. Nevada also has one of the highest high school dropout rates in the country and the state is also spending a lot less per student than the national average.

Tom Skancke of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance said a Korean manufacturing business wanted to move its company to the valley until they saw the low education rankings. That company would have brought 7,000 jobs to Southern Nevada.

The software company Originate is growing and moving into new office space in the SWITCH building. Their company is based in San Francisco and said they expanded to Southern Nevada, because Las Vegas has the international brand of being the king of tourism.

Rob Mallery, the Vice President of Talent at Originate, also says because there is no feeder program, like the one at Stanford University, it makes Southern Nevada's talent pool less competitive.

“Anybody wanting to be an elite level software engineer, they're going to go where Google is, where Facebook is, where Twitter is, where Snapchat is,” said Mallery. “They're going to go where the big boys are playing. Um, there are no big boys here."

One employee from Originate, who was born and raised in Las Vegas, said he didn't attend UNLV because he felt the school lacked a strong computer science program.

When asked if it was hard to find employees from Las Vegas to work for Originate, he said, “The type of people we are looking for, yes.”

More than a third of businesses that intended to move their company to Las Vegas, but did not blamed the schools.

“This last year, of the 251 opportunities of new businesses to locate here, 35 percent of those businesses chose not to come here because of workforce availability and education,” said Skancke.