On its own, Northern Virginia has become a national technology center for communications and commerce, with some 1,800 companies specializing in Internet services, electronic commerce, software development, telecommunications and systems integration. But the rest of the state also has started chipping in during recent years. Motorola Inc., for example, recently started a chip manufacturing facility in Richmond.
To realize the impact of the technology industry on the state's economy, consider the following statistics, compiled as part of Virginia's Blueprint for Technology-Based Economic Growth, a list of recommendations developed by the state's business and regional leaders:
* Statewide, 2,450 technology firms employ 250,000 workers who earn $13.8 billion in wages. By 2002 there will be more than 4,000 firms employing at least 330,000 workers, with each job paying an average salary of $65,000 a year.
* The state's technology sector is growing at three times the rate of the overall economy.
* Sixty-three percent of the growth of Virginia's Gross State Product over the past five years can be linked to technology and related industries.
* High-tech jobs pay nearly twice the state's average wage. In Northern Virginia, technology firms make up 4 percent of the region's businesses but account for 23 percent of private-sector employment and 27 percent of wages.
* According to the Northern Virginia Technology Council, each new technology-sector job generates one additional job in another sector, while each $10,000 worth of technology-sector earnings generates $6,250 of wages in other sectors.