Colorado Recognized as Quantum Leader: Under Polis Administration, State Designated as Quantum Tech Hub

Today, Governor Polis and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) announced that Colorado and the TechHubNow! Initiative have secured a federal designation as a Regional Technology and Innovation Hub (Tech Hub) focused on the advancement of the quantum industry. Colorado leads the world in quantum companies, quantum jobs, and quantum innovation, and this Tech Hub designation will position the state to accelerate the development of the industry while creating new, good-paying jobs for Coloradans.

“The quantum sector is one of the key industries of tomorrow, and I’m thrilled the Biden administration is awarding Colorado a TechHub designation for quantum technology. We will take full advantage of this decision to help create jobs, and support businesses and entrepreneurs because Colorado is the best place for quantum technology and related innovation,” said Colorado Governor Polis.

Quantum technology is widely recognized as transformational. Quantum computing alone is projected to drive $3.5 trillion in economic growth, with applications in finance, artificial intelligence, and materials analysis already gaining traction.

Colorado leads the world in quantum science and the concentration of quantum organizations and jobs. It is one of only two states with multiple large-scale quantum computing companies and the only state with significant quantum infrastructure players in both quantum optics and low-temperature quantum systems. Leading quantum companies, including Atom Computing, Infleqtion, Maybell, Quantinuum, and others, call Colorado home and four Colorado scientists have won Nobel Prizes for quantum research. 

“Quantum will be as important to the next century as semiconductors were to the last, and Colorado is leading the way,” said Corban Tillemann-Dick, CEO of Maybell Quantum and Chair of the Elevate Quantum Tech Hub consortium. “With this Tech Hub designation, we can accelerate the industry’s development and commercialization while creating accessible jobs for Coloradans.”

"The Elevate Quantum coalition could not be more excited about this designation. Representing over 70 entities spanning workforce development, K-12 education, academic research institutions, commercial organizations, and more, ours is the largest regional coalition of Quantum organizations in America. Winning this bid reflects what our members have been working towards for decades: cementing Colorado and the Mountain West as the Capital of Quantum and building a thriving future for all Americans,” said Zachary Yerushalmi, CEO and Regional Innovation Officer for Elevate Quantum.

With Tech Hub designation, Elevate Quantum will focus on accelerating the transition of cutting-edge quantum research from the laboratory to the market, facilitate a vibrant startup and scale-up ecosystem, and build a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Nearly half of Quantum jobs do not require an advanced degree, and the share of technician positions is projected to double in five years as the industry’s need for skilled trades like welding, pipe fitting and machining grows. The average quantum job pays over $125,000 per year.

The consortium plans to launch a quantum-focused startup accelerator in partnership with Techstars and Access Mode, which provides funding and customized mentoring to BIPOC-founded tech startups, establish a multi-modal open-access quantum laboratory to fuel start-up growth and technology transfer to the private sector, and help quantum startups scale into global leaders through loan guarantees and strategic guidance. Elevate Quantum also plans to invest in workforce development and promote diversity, equity, inclusion, access and belonging (DEIAB) with the goal of helping 30,000 workers develop new skills for quantum jobs and ensuring equitable access to the industry.

“Colorado is building a quantum workforce utilizing proven strategies that focus on the entire quantum ecosystem, from K-12 education through career development. By bringing key stakeholders together in a community that focuses on system-wide efforts, we will accelerate the growth of a quantum workforce that truly integrates diverse lived experiences and a wide spectrum of people into developing and utilizing quantum products and services,” said Lucinda M. Sanders, Founding CEO of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). Sanders is drawing on her experience integrating gender equity into the national information technology sector to lead the Elevate Quantum workforce development strategy.

“Colorado has innovation in its DNA and it makes sense that it would receive this designation. Access Mode is dedicated to cultivating the entrepreneurial journey of Black, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Indigenous tech founders. We are excited about partnering with this incredible coalition to bring even more talented entrepreneurs, who have been the furthest from opportunity, into the tech ecosystem, ensuring inclusive innovation for the future of Colorado and the future of quantum,” said Zaneta Kelsey, Co-Founder and CEO of Access Mode.

“Being designated a Tech Hub is a significant acknowledgment of Colorado's quantum strengths and the rich confluence of research, industry, and technological prowess that it hosts,” said Dr. Marlou Slot, Quantum Lead at the Womanium foundation and researcher in Quantum Sensors and Quantum Materials. “Through Womanium's quantum programs, we have already trained thousands of women and members of underrepresented groups, bringing young scientists, engineers, technicians and thinkers into the quantum industry. We're at an inflection point to start a quantum age with a talent pool that is diverse, skilled and ready to turn ideas into global technological leadership. Given its unique combination of national labs, industry, universities, nonprofits, and the commitment to leadership, Colorado is ready to champion this vision and turn it into a reality.”

“I am incredibly excited about the impact that Tech Hub designation will have on diversity, equity, and representation in the quantum industry,” said Dr. Colleen Simpson, President of Front Range Community College, which is one of the only community colleges in the country with an optics and photonics program which directly supports the Quantum workforce. “Front Range Community College is committed to providing opportunity for Coloradans while meeting the evolving needs of our state’s diverse economy. Our existing programs already offer pathways for people who have been underserved by past technology revolutions to be part of the Quantum Future, and with Tech Hub designation we expect to be able to scale them up and use them as a model throughout the region. Helping to build the quantum workforce—through innovative, tailored programming and degree offerings—ensures our students are well-equipped to navigate the quantum landscape and seize the exciting opportunities it presents.” 

The Elevate Quantum Tech Hub designation positions Colorado to apply for and secure federal funding opportunities to advance the industry. To support the Tech Hub’s continued development and its pursuit of federal funding, the Colorado Economic Development Commission has set aside funds to assist in meeting federal match requirements.

“We are thrilled that Elevate Quantum has been named a Regional Technology and Innovation Hub. This designation will position our state as a global leader in quantum research and commercialization while creating good-paying jobs, an inclusive workforce, and a strong, diversified economy that benefits the whole state. We look forward to collaborating as they continue their important work to grow this technology of the future,” said Eve Lieberman, OEDIT Executive Director.

The Elevate Quantum Tech Hub application grew out of TechHubNow!, a public-private partnership established by Gov. Polis in April 2023, to respond to a once-in-a-generation opportunity to grow the nation’s advanced and emerging technology industries. Under the CHIPS and Science Act, the EDA oversaw a competitive process to select 20 federally designated Tech Hubs across the country, with $500 million in appropriated funding available in 2023 and $10 billion over five years.

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