Former city councilman working to increase technology education, jobs in Amarillo

Former city councilman working to increase technology education, jobs in Amarillo
Technology in amarillo (Source: KFDA)

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Amarillo has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state, but a former city councilman feels a lot of the jobs are low paying jobs and technology can help elevate the economy.

“If we look at our gross domestic product, Lubbock is now increasing over what Amarillo was in the first time. We have to look at and seriously think about what’s going on. Now we can get all the data and we can get all the information and know what we need to do, but Lubbock has I think three coding academies, so this is the destination,” said Mark Nair, the chair of business systems and emerging technology at Amarillo College.

Right now, Pantex and Bell are our biggest companies using high-level technology, and Nair feels we need more smaller companies to grow.

“Growth is driven by small entrepreneur companies with that entrepreneur mindset, especially in technology. Where the growth of one company, then the growth of another on,e and the growth of another one, and then people work here at this company to get better, and then to the next company and this is what I call the supply chain of talent. And this is what we are lacking, which we have to build to give all those people chances,” said Nair.

Nair is passionate about building here, and feels all we need is initiative from the community to propel us into the future.

“The difficulty on a lot of this is we are so remote, we are in an island here, and other cities are growing fast compared to what were doing in Amarillo. So we need to just buckle down and get people interested in technology and in coding. You can do the work remotely, you don’t have to be here, but the future is going to be about this and about automation and we have to take advantage of it while we still can,” said Nair.

Nair is trying to teach coding and technology to younger children to help shape their futures.

“The future is very different than what it was when I was in college, and it’s radically different for what they are going to face and they need to embrace this now,” said Nair.

Two Amarillo high schools and Amarillo college offer coding classes now.

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