A major technology grant to be split among several cities could end up creating more Houston tech jobs (Click here).
IBM recently announced that it will invest $50 million worth of technology and services in 100 municipalities as part of the company's Smarter Cities Challenge. Although IBM is funding the project, each city will be able to hire its own employees to manage various projects.
After those workers are hired, IBM will send experts to each city to get involved with local issues regarding the administration of healthcare, education, safety, social services, transportation, communications, sustainability, budget management, energy, and utilities.
Although any city can apply for funding, those with populations between 100,000 and 700,000 will benefit the most, according to an article by the Houston Business Journal. Pilot grants have already been awarded to Austin, Baltimore, and Mecklenburg County, N.C.
Cities that want to apply for funding should be able to pinpoint two to four strategic issues that could be reasonably acted upon; a record of innovative problem solving; a commitment to the use of technology and open data; and a willingness to provide access and time with city leaders and the public.
This is good news for the Houston area's economy, which has continued improving over the last few months. The city had an unemployment rate of 8.2 percent during September, which was lower than the national average at the time of 9.6 percent.
The Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown area had a total non-farm employment of 2,525,800 workers during October, which is up from 2,516,300 workers during September and a .2 percent increase from last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.