HENDERSON (KTNV) — Investing in advanced technology and manufacturing to better compete with the world. One place of focus is a battery manufacturer here in Clark County.
Batteries are being mass produced at Lithion Battery in Henderson. They're crucial in powering machines like home solar grids and other advanced equipment.
"Medical needs. That same company makes portable CAT scanners. The Boston Dynamic robots you see all over YouTube."
Jim Hodge, a vice president at the company is proud of the work, manufacturing the batteries at their warehouse in our Las Vegas valley. With a growing operation, Hodge would like to hire a few dozen new workers but it has been difficult to find skilled candidates.
"You walk through the factory, and you see a lot of specialized equipment there. It's not something where you can hire someone off the street like they're doing electronics assembly."
The United States Innovation and Competition Act aims to help bridge that gap. More than $100 billion towards research and investments in advanced technology and manufacturing. Part of the money will go towards job training and development. Senator Jacky Rosen says this can be a pipeline for future employment.
"These are good paying jobs and jobs of the future. We're even talking with the folks here on how they're going to partner with our community colleges and Nevada State College,” she said.
Battery manufacturing is a key area of competitive focus for the United States and Lithion Battery is giving America a foothold. The market is currently dominated by China.
"We want to be part of the global economy, but we want to be independent on things,” Senator Rosen said.
Hodge says southern Nevada has potential and believes in efforts to diversify the state's economy, branching out from gaming and hospitality.