Like other businesses in the tech industry, Mobiniti in Wilkes-Barre has experienced rapid growth.
The text-message marketing business has more than doubled the size of its office on the second floor of the Innovation Center on South Main Street since it opened two years ago.
It expanded from three employees to seven and is looking to hire more sales and marketing employees.
Mobiniti’s expansion is an example of the growth seen in the tech industry that continues to be a major driving force in Northeast Pennsylvania and throughout the state and is expected to add more jobs this year.
According to the Computer Technology Industry Association Cyberstates 2016 report, Pennsylvania’s tech industry employment ranked 18th in the country and employed 228,764 workers in 2015.
Pennsylvania added 1,354 jobs between 2014 and 2015 — a number that’s expected to continue to rise in 2016.
Technology workers had an annual average salary of $92,179, which is 82 percent more than the average private sector wage in the entire state.
The report showed 6.6 percent of the state’s economy is from the technology industry.
Mobiniti is currently expanding its platform to provide email marketing as well as text marketing and just launched an iOS app so campaigns could easily be sent from a mobile phone, said Bryan Hunsinger, who co-founded the tech business with Rocco Ciavarella.
“Our customer base is continually growing and we are now working with some large national brands like Dairy Queen, KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and Harley-Davidson,” Mr. Hunsinger said.
The business has other clients throughout the U.S. as well, including The Bicycle Hotel & Casino, Mountain High Resort and Victoria’s Candies.
“The Innovation Center has been a great fit for us and our team,” Mr. Hunsinger said, adding they are excited to see the addition of the tech workshop and multimedia center in the lower level of the building and look forward to using it in the future.
Pepperjam, the company formerly known as eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions, is another example of a technology business that has expanded in the Innovation Center.
Michael Jones, CEO of Pepperjam, announced plans last year to expand and add 35-40 jobs. Officials from the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber hailed the plans as a step to make downtown Wilkes-Barre emerge as a vibrant “innovation district.”
The Innovation Center has been critical to the growth in the region’s technology industry, said Teri Ooms, executive director of the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development.
“The job growth at that location has been phenomenal,” she said. “Their success has inspired other companies over the years and has helped grow this sector. Their continued success is critical to the region.”
Computer technology occupations are very important to the local economy, Ms. Ooms said, since these types of positions are in both goods producing and service producing sectors. Currently, there are 3,682 computer-related jobs in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties, she said.
“It is expected we will grow this by 13 percent over the next 10 years,” she said. “The rate is slower than the nation, but still critical to our region.”
While technology jobs pay more than most jobs in the region, Ms. Ooms said the salary is still lower than state and national averages like all occupations locally.
“It is critical that the region work to keep these skilled graduates in the region or successfully recruit more people here, because as I have talked with companies, it is hard to find people with the skills needed to fulfill the jobs,” she said.
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