Massachusetts Cashes In On Ed Tech Industry

(Illustration: Shutterstock)

(Illustration: Shutterstock)

From Smart Boards and chatbots to tablets and mobile applications, technology is playing a larger part in education than ever before. The global ed tech market is expected to grow 17 percent a year to $252 billion by 2020, according to a report from EdTechXGlobal and IBIS Capital, and the state of Massachusetts is trying to cash in.

In Massachusetts the ed tech industry supports  25,000 jobs in 430 companies, making the state a leader in the ed tech space, according to LearnLaunch’s first Massachusetts Ed tech Workforce Report.

LearnLaunch, an ed tech startup program, analyzed the impact of ed tech on the Massachusetts economy.

The report found that of 430 ed tech companies in the state, 90 percent report adding positions and hiring employees. Additionally, rather than it just being a case of new companies cropping up in the state, the report found that existing companies are growing dramatically.  Sixty-one percent of ed tech companies reported an increase in the hiring of ed tech employees compared to three years ago.

“Massachusetts has long been recognized as a leader in both education and technology innovation,” explained LearnLaunch co-founder Eileen Rudden. “The Ed tech Workforce Report quantifies, for the first time, the growing importance of ed tech to the state’s economy, as well as to its overall education success. The data is clear: Ed tech companies are starting up, moving to Massachusetts, attracting investment, and adding jobs. Ed tech is an increasingly vital part of our innovation economy.”

The question becomes, what makes Massachusetts such an attractive location for ed tech companies?

The report explains, “A number of executives commented on the excitement specific to Massachusetts: the large educated and skilled labor force and the exceptional number of possibilities for partnerships between industry, research institutions, and universities.”

With a strong public K-12 system and more than 120 degree-granting higher education institutions, there is not only a good talent pool in the state, but also a strong school system to pilot test new programs and products.

Additionally, as ed tech companies move to one state, others will follow. The report explains, “Being surrounded by companies with a common passion and mission for education is conducive to forming content partnerships.” With the ed tech industry taking root in Massachusetts, it’s likely that more companies will open offices in the future.

A LearnLaunch blog post explains, leading ed tech companies, including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Pearson, McGraw Hill Education–which opened a research and development lab in Boston–and Cengage Learning–which moved its global headquarters from New York City–are all key players in Boston’s ed tech ecosystem. Additionally, large tech companies that are newcomers to the ed tech space, including Microsoft, Google, and Amazon, all have education teams located in the Boston area. Other ed tech companies, Curriculum Associates, Rosetta Stone/Lexia, and LEGO Education are also located in Boston. In fact, LEGO Education moved its educational business from Kansas to Boston in 2015.

As a result of the increase in jobs and the boon to the Massachusetts economy, other states are making a play in the ed tech space. Colorado, Maryland, Illinois, and New York all have quickly blossoming ed tech industries.

For more on ed tech, check on social media influencers to follow and ed tech investors you need to know.

Kate DeNardi
About Kate DeNardi
Kate DeNardi is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering education.
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