Best of the West: Facebook’s $1B investment in New Mexico, Montana opens doors for women in trade industries, NASA tracks wildfire smoke

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The West

The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are the western stories for the week starting November 20, 2017, that you don't want to miss. (Associated Press photo)

Facebook announced plans to increase its investment in New Mexico by adding four buildings to a data center under construction outside of Albuquerque. Facebook said the $1 billion project covering 2.8 million square feet will be one of the most advanced, energy-efficient centers in the world.

Gov. Susana Martinez announced the expansion plans with Facebook officials, saying “This shows even more encouraging momentum, and we'll continue using our powerful tools and reforms to compete for more jobs and investment."

In addition to the permanent positions that will be housed at the data center, construction is expected to keep 800 to 1,000 workers a day employed through 2023.

Open for Business: Storey County in rural Nevada has exploded as a technology hub as companies such as Tesla, Google and Walmart expand their reach. More than 140 tenants have set up shop in its industrial park, crediting the absence of red tape and expedited speed of permitting as major drivers of economic development in the area.

Smoke Signals: Scientists are using NASA satellite data to study the path of wildfire smoke using mathematical models and computer simulation. Large fires in the Pacific Northwest this summer released smoke that carried particles all the way from Oregon and Washington to the Great Plains, the South and across New England.

New Opportunities: Young women in Montana are being introduced to trade careers such as machining, carpentry and welding through a new program that exposes girls to traditionally male-dominated fields. The program aims to increase the number of women in advanced manufacturing, construction and transportation, improve access to good paying middle-skill jobs and address future job shortages.

ENDOW’s Livestream Success: An initiative launched by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead to diversify the state’s economy is increasing its impact through technology. Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming began livestreaming committee meetings this summer, increasing transparency and allowing residents to watch the recordings later. Learn how many people tuned in to the five meetings.

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