KEY STRENGTHS OF TUCSON & SOUTHERN ARIZONA
ON THE RISE: TUCSON IS GROWING IN JOBS, INVESTMENT & OPPORTUNITY
We are home to wide open spaces, have an affordable cost of living and doing business, and are seeing major growth, with over 10,000 new jobs and over $1 billion in capital investment over the past five years. Couple that with the increased interest in mid-size cities for both business and talent, and Tucson and Southern Arizona are well-positioned for continued growth and expansion. In fact, Tucson ranks as the No. 8 U.S. city with the largest growth in high-paying jobs and No. 9 among new U.S. tech markets. Tucson is also part of a top 10 emerging megapolitan region with Phoenix. The region boasts ample land and room to grow, plus access to a massive talent pool with graduates from the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Pima Community College.
College Town Turned Talent Pool: Tucson Boasts a Highly Skilled Workforce
With access to two internationally recognized universities within 100 miles of each other, plus a top-ranked community college, Southern Arizona is a higher education powerhouse with an exceptional talent pipeline.
Tucson is home to the University of Arizona (UArizona), a top 20 public research university offering more than 250 undergraduate majors and graduate programs. UArizona is home to leading programs in areas such as space, astronomy, optical science and medicine; and partners with major local employers such as Raytheon Missiles & Defense, which hires more engineers from UArizona than any other university in the country.
Arizona State University – one of the largest universities in the country – is just 100 miles north; ranks No. 1 in the U.S. for innovation (ahead of MIT and Stanford); and boasts the largest engineering school in the United States.
Pima Community College (PCC), ranked in the top 10% of U.S. Community Colleges by the Aspen Institute, has five campuses throughout Southern Arizona and is a key partner with employers such as Caterpillar and TuSimple for hands-on workforce training. PCC is making major investments in the region – from doubling the size of its Aviation Technology Center at Tucson International Airport to a new Center of Excellence in Applied Technology in downtown Tucson.
In addition to its strong higher education assets, the region is home to the fifth-highest concentration of aerospace and defense workers in the country. It also offers companies a workforce of nearly 500,000, a population that is nearly 20% bilingual in Spanish and 38,000 hard-working veterans.
An Oasis for Innovation: Tucson is the Capital of the Smart Southwest
From developing driverless trucks, high-tech missiles, emerging 5G wireless networks and smart mines to cutting-edge cancer diagnostics – companies in Tucson are creating pioneering solutions to global problems.
With companies like TuSimple, the world’s largest and most advanced self-driving truck company, plus “smart mining” innovations from Hexagon Mining, Caterpillar, and Komatsu, Tucson is a proving ground for smart, autonomous technologies.
The region is also a diagnostics dynamo – with Roche Tissue Diagnostics, a world leader in tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and Accelerate Diagnostics, which provides solutions to the life-threatening challenge of antibiotic resistance – plus 200 other emerging and established bioscience companies.
In aerospace and defense, Tucson is home to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and industry giants such as the Raytheon Missiles & Defense headquarters, Honeywell Aerospace and Northrop Grumman, plus budding startups like World View.
Thanks to its proximity to major R&D institutions, combined with a business-friendly regulatory environment, robust local workforce, ideal weather (boasting more than 300 days of sunshine annually) and proximity to both California and Texas, Southern Arizona provides fertile space to test technologies of tomorrow.
Straight Shot to the South and Beyond: Tucson is Powering an International Trade Corridor
Tucson’s strategic southwest location provides easy and fast access to California, Mexico and Texas – three of the world’s largest economies. Tucson is less than an hour from Mexico, Arizona’s number one trading partner; and an hour and a half from Phoenix, the nation’s fifth-largest city.
The Western Hemisphere’s busiest port complex (Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach) is less than 500 miles away, and Tucson is the only city in Arizona with an international inland port, the Port of Tucson, which is located directly on the Union Pacific main line.
The inland port provides international ocean container rail service to and from seaports in California and Mexico – allowing companies to avoid delays at California ports and take advantage of lower freight costs. South of Tucson, the city of Nogales is home to Arizona’s busiest port of entry, particularly for commercial traffic, which boasts some of the shortest wait times on the U.S.-Mexico border.
This combined with assets such as I-10 and Tucson International Airport position the region as a key hub in the U.S.-Latin America trade corridor. In recent years, big names have bet on Tucson for distribution operations, including Target, Amazon, Home Depot and HomeGoods. As continued supply chain disruptions prompt companies to rethink their logistics networks, Tucson continues to be a strong option as a strategic transportation hub.
Desert Living Reimagined: Tucson Offers Wellness in Wide Open Spaces
Individuals and families across the country are eyeing communities that offer plenty of open space – plus an affordable cost of living – and Tucson checks all the boxes. The median home price is $291,511, and the cost of living is 6% below the national average. From hiking and biking through the biologically diverse saguaro-studded mountains to stargazing through one of the world’s largest telescopes, outdoor activities are endless and accessible year-round (hello, T-shirts in January).
Tucson is also home to world-renowned spas that make it a wellness destination – Canyon Ranch and Miraval. Balancing historic preservation efforts with new modern developments, Tucson is rich in history, heart and soul, but also a city of the future. Downtown Tucson has seen a renaissance in recent years, with $1 billion in investment over the last five years, 85 bars and restaurants, a streetcar connecting it to Tucson’s most unique districts, and lively music and arts scene. Tucson has a “cool factor” to rival Austin and Nashville, and its diverse dining scene put it on the map as the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the country. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder national publications like Outside Magazine, Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler have included Tucson on their “best” lists.