The Seattle metro region spans three counties in northwest Washington, and technology and aerospace are its dominant industries. In Seattle’s home of King County alone, there are nearly 500 companies and more than 45,000 employees that belong to the aerospace sector.
Aside from Redmond-based technology giant Microsoft, some of the region’s other notable Fortune 500 interests include retailers Amazon.com, Nordstrom and Starbucks, all three of which are headquartered in Seattle.
Education and health care also play critical roles in the local economy. Educational and medical centers provide one out of every six jobs in the City of Seattle, according to the city’s downtown business association. Those institutions provide nearly $5 billion annually in salaries and benefits to the city’s labor force.
Several programs are also active in order to develop the work force’s next generation. One such effort, backed by $40 million in assistance from Microsoft, is a partnership between the University of Washington and China’s Tsinghua University. The Seattle-based “Global Innovation Exchange” will open in the fall of 2016 and will allow students, faculty and professionals to collaborate on technology projects. In 2017, the institute will launch a master’s degree program in technology innovation, and will add more programs in subsequent years.
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