NC Tech Affiliation CEO briefs legislature on constructive financial ballot outcomes

Editor’s note: NC Technology Association CEO Brooks Raiford met with members of the N.C. General Assembly on Wednesday to discuss the state of the tech economy. WRAL TechWire asked Raiford for his take on “Tech Day.”

RALEIGH – Ordinarily, “Tech Day” includes a morning breakfast in the legislative building where our members and legislators can mingle, plus a briefing from me to the IT Committee on the “state of the sector,” and then some visits by me with individual legislators if/as they are available.

The invitation to brief the House IT Committee came with fairly short notice, so we did not host a breakfast this time.  I was the opening speaker at today’s meeting of the NC House Appropriations Committee on Information Technology, which featured a briefing from me on the key findings from the 2021 State of Technology Industry Report as well as highlights from the recent CEO poll (mainly I focused on the questions having to do with tech leaders’ predictions about business and hiring trends, their support for expenditure of public funds on broadband buildout, etc.).

I was followed by the State CIO [James Weaver] who provided an overview of the Department of IT’s areas of focus, their budget proposal, and areas where the State CIO hopes the Legislature might collaborate on modernizing the way the Department delivers its services to state agencies.

Highlights from my presentation:

  • North Carolina ranks in the top tier of states in areas like tech employment growth (past and predicted future), average wages for tech workers, percentage of workers in the tech industry that are women, and growth in “tech establishments” (government term for tech businesses).
  • Given that expansion of broadband to underserved areas and populations (and improving the adoption rate, and promoting digital literacy) are all hot topics right now, I did highlight that while North Carolina has ranked fairly well among the states in terms of access to high-speed internet, we rank further down the list when it comes to adoption (likely a cost issue).
  • The Governor has proposed funds to subsidize qualifying families so that cost will be less of a barrier (particularly for homes with school-aged children).
  • In early June poll of tech leaders across North Carolina, there was overwhelming confidence in business and hiring trends.

Here is WRAL TechWire’s coverage of that survey:

Survey: 97% of NC execs optimistic; 81% plan to boost hiring; but 29% to reduce office space

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