Henderson is growing and with it, doors of opportunity are opening like never before. Once illuminated only by the lights of Las Vegas, Henderson has become a powerhouse of technological innovation, workforce developments and a unique community that stands all on its own. As Nevada ushers in new business from other states, Henderson is opening its doors and becoming the destination hotspot in southern Nevada for both business and community.
Originally founded as a magnesium plant to aid war efforts in World War II, Henderson has come a long way from its humble beginnings. President John F. Kennedy rightly predicted Henderson would be a “city of destiny,” and Henderson is now the second largest city in Nevada. With a perimeter encompassing more than 103 square miles and a rapidly growing community, Henderson faces the task of maintaining its trajectory of growth by identifying which doors will lead to its brightest future.
Opening the door to a diverse economy, independent of Las Vegas’ entertainment industry, has been a sharp area of focus for Henderson. “Over the past decade, the city has targeted economic development and business recruitment efforts in the areas of advanced manufacturing and logistics, healthcare and life sciences, headquarters and global finance, and technology,” said Henderson Mayor Debra March. “We are focused on attracting high-caliber companies that promote economic diversification and also create skilled jobs.”
These efforts have been rewarded by the promise of several large companies moving to Henderson including Haas Automation and Google which became fully operational in February of 2021.
“The economic development decisions we make today will impact our community’s success for generations to come,” said March, “Therefore it is vital that the City of Henderson explicitly target companies that diversify our economy, provide higher wages for our workforce and fill gaps in critical areas.”
Nevada is a great place to do business and is currently experiencing unprecedented growth. With an increase of companies looking to move and expand in the Silver State, many companies have strategically chosen Henderson to call home.
Haas Automation, the largest machine tool maker in the United States, is headquartered in California and expanding in Henderson. This expansion will add a large number of manufacturing-based positions in the coming years.
“We produce over 90 percent of all machine tools and we’re growing rapidly,” said Peter Zierhut, vice president of outside operations for Haas Automation. “We needed to expand. We’ve been looking for a few years for our next site. As we looked at sites across the country, it became clear to us that it was going to be far easier to expand relatively close to home. And of course, the business-friendly climate that we encountered as we began to meet with people from the state and from the City of Henderson made it an easy decision. Then, finally, the tax situation makes it very attractive, especially to a manufacturer. The majority of our competitors are overseas, so we have to compete against offshore products. To do that, we need to be in a very location that’s conducive to building and it looks like Nevada is a good choice.”
Barclays Bank is also opening their doors to a larger Henderson workforce. With a strategic operational site off Green Valley Parkway, Barclays has been part of the Henderson community for eight years. Due to expansion, Barclays is expected to add 600 jobs of various levels to the Henderson community.
“The roles are not just all junior roles,” said Jayne Backhouse, the Nevada/Ohio site lead and care operations managing director for Barclays Bank US. “We’re looking at increasing salaries to give back. We’re looking at [hiring] right up to director level roles. And we do want to be, absolutely, deeply rooted within the community here.”
These additional positions are being added largely because of expansion paired with the work-from-home options from the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re really proud to say at the moment, our colleagues have the choice of working from the office or working from home,” said Backhouse. “We offer a choice and we believe very strongly in supporting colleagues in their work life balance. Therefore, we can absorb another 600 people without having the need to grow our physical site footprint.”
Barclays, which also boasts starting salaries above the state average, continued to hire throughout the COVID pandemic and is hoping to add those 600 positions over the next 18 months.
“We’ve created deep roots in Henderson,” Blackhouse added. “We’ve been successful here in Henderson, and Barclays wants to partner with Henderson because Henderson partners with Barclays.”
Equipping the Workforce
As Henderson continues to grow and opens the door to becoming a hub for tech innovation, the door for a larger and specialized workforce is wide open. Consequently, the City faces the immense challenge of equipping the workforce today for tomorrow’s jobs.
“Lack of a readily trained workforce can be a hurdle for attracting specialized business sectors like advanced manufacturing,” said March. “The City’s investment in training programs that develop the workforce of today and tomorrow will help attract additional opportunities to the area.”
One major step the City has taken to create a thriving workforce for manufacturing-based industries across southern Nevada is through the a facility known as the Center of Excellence. Developed in partnership with the College of Southern Nevada (CSN), the center is approximately 17,000 square feet and includes offices for Henderson’s Economic Development Department. In anticipation of Haas Automation’s expansion, the Center of Excellence will contribute to a specialized and ready workforce.
“In 2019, Henderson made a commitment to develop a workforce training center as part of its agreement with Haas Automation, the world’s largest manufacturer of machines that build machines that will create 2,500 skilled jobs,” said March. “Quality education is a priority for the City and investment in the Center of Excellence will not only benefit Haas but will also help attract additional advanced manufacturing opportunities to the area. The City is partnering with College of Southern Nevada to develop the curriculum and administer the training programs.”
As that curriculum is shaped and tailored one focus will be on equipping future workers to deal with the technical aspects of computers and robotics in regard to manufacturing.
“We realized that if we wanted to grow the advanced manufacturing sector in Henderson and be that transformational entity that drives up, we need to help, not only bring companies, but also provide that workforce pipeline,” said Derek Armstrong, director of economic development and tourism for the City of Henderson. “This is the first time a local jurisdiction has taken on education up to this point. Traditionally, education has been provided at the state level through some of the higher education providers. The City has really stepped up its effort and its commitment to the business sector, showing that we were listening and we’re going to be responsive to their needs.”
Stepping up for Small Businesses
Faced with the positive challenge of a growing workforce, due in large to the expansion of larger companies, Henderson remains focused on ushering in big business while holding the door open for small businesses.
“We meet with companies one-on-one throughout the year to figure out their needs,” said Armstrong. He added that sometimes it’s as simple as, “helping by introducing them to the resources to find connection points and employees, something like Workforce Connections or some of the other providers of employees.”
One way in which the city aimed to help businesses connect with workers was through a regional job fair where they provided a hiring bonus for small businesses.
“We saw that there’s a lot of companies offering signing bonuses for employees, and we wanted to be able to level that playing field for small businesses,” said Armstrong. “If an employee qualified, meaning that they were hired from the event, they made $15 an hour and they were full time, then we paid a $500 signing bonus for those employers to help provide that incentive to help them find employees.”
Henderson has also taken measures to connect employers with ready workers via the Employ NV Business Hub. The hub has several locations throughout southern Nevada, and one if its newest locations is inside Henderson City Hall. Focused on serving smaller businesses by considering the needs of the employer, the Employ NV Business Hub provides resources and services to recruit talent, provide financial incentives and aid in funding.
“I think that the business hubs are probably a lot of value to small businesses who don’t have the resources a larger company might have,” said Jaime Cruz, executive director of Workforce Connections.
One of the first hubs was located in the Vegas Chamber and proved successful in many ways. “They are the first of their kind,” Cruz explained. “When we started the Chamber location, there wasn’t another one in the country. Now it’s being replicated. Also, the locations in city hall were the first ones in the country and now we’re getting calls from other regions asking us how to replicate the model in other places.”
Henderson is Home
Living in Henderson has never been more exciting. While once considered a rural extension of Las Vegas, Henderson has grown into its own with robust housing opportunities and attractive lifestyle amenities for singles and families alike. As more and more call Henderson home, the region provides new opportunities for, not only a thriving community of families, but also the growing workforce.
Cadence, a 2,200-acre master planned community in Henderson, has gained national attention and was ranked among the top 10 best-selling master planned communities nationwide.
“We officially opened and started selling in December of 2014,” said Cheryl Gowan, vice president of marketing at The Landwell Company, the development group behind Cadence. “We now have more than 3,400 families calling Cadence home.”
Cadence is continuing its trajectory of growth and has added a number of builders. “We have Toll Brothers on board, Storybook Homes, Century Communities and DR Horton will be starting to build here probably later this year,” added Gowan.
Cadence is also experiencing rapid growth in commercial and retail areas. “We have the Smiths Marketplace that opened just recently with other retail that will be going in and starting to be built over the next couple of months and opening in the fall,” said Gowan. “We have another 20 acres of retail that will be started. We’re still finalizing leases with different businesses, but that will probably start building next year. It’s a variety of homes, businesses and commercial space.”
Water Street in downtown Henderson is also opening new doors for locals with access to boutique shops, unique dining and entertainment.
“We’re seeing continued growth in the Water Street District, or downtown Henderson,” said Armstrong. “We opened the Lifeguard Arena a little over a year ago, which has been tremendously successful. If you go there at any point, you’ll see kids playing. The community has really taken a hold of that facility, and it’s been a positive aspect for us.”
Additional residential opportunities will be available this year as new projects go under construction and ongoing plans come to fruition.
“Currently under construction is the Watermark, a mixed-use project opening by the end of summer with 155 luxury apartments, retail and office space,” said March. “Under development is the six-story ‘Atwell at the Pass,’ our very first hotel on Water Street. The American Planning Association named Water Street one of the great places in America and we are excited to see this transformation continue.”
Henderson is experiencing unparalleled growth in nearly every sector. The growth in population alone has spurred the building of new public safety facilities, including one for the Henderson Fire Department. The department broke ground in 2021 on its twelfth fire station in Cadence. Henderson also broke ground on a new police station in West Henderson at the end of last year which is expected to be completed by December.
“I think [the West Henderson police station] is going to be critical as the city grows to make sure we’re responsive and continuing to be one of the safest cities in the country,” said Armstrong.
On the community side, one of the most anticipated buildings in Henderson opened last month. The Dollar Loan Center, home of the Vegas Knight Hawks and the Henderson Silver Knights, recently completed construction. The arena opened its doors for its first event, the State of the City address in March, which was followed by the Big West Basketball Championships.
Workforce and building development aren’t the only industries growing in Henderson. Academia is also on the rise.
“The city is working with the Clark County School District to locate a career and technical academy in West Henderson that will break ground in September 2022,” said March. “Curriculum will incorporate input from Henderson businesses on what skill-sets they are looking for when hiring employees. We are also hoping to have a teacher training program to help fill the pipeline for future schoolteachers.’
Henderson’s doors are open, and the future of Nevada is walking in.
“Henderson is a premier city, home to excellent schools, award-winning parks and trails, a strong and diversified economy, top-rated City staff and a community that is recognized as one of the safest in America,” said Mayor March. “We also offer some of the best master-planned communities in the nation and are attracting new businesses to the area that are bringing higher-paying job opportunities.”