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Pinal has long been the state’s third most populous county, but traditionally it was quite rural in nature. That has changed with rapid growth in the 21st century. Sandwiched between the two metropolitan areas in a major Sun Belt state, Pinal is piling up population increases that had long been predicted. With growth spilling over from the Valley, especially among young people, has come interest, skill and ability in technology.

All that interest and ability is coming into play with the planned creation of thousands of jobs that require it, especially in electric vehicle manufacturing. In fact, two plants planned for Casa Grande and Coolidge depend on attracting many qualified workers. And if they are not commuting long distances, that is preferable. Of course, new jobs often draw new residents and that’s fine as long as infrastructure keeps up with the growth.

A survey, done for Pinal’s Economic Development Department from January to March, asked 1,791 residents questions about their interests, skills and employment. Results included were:

People in Florence, Coolidge and Apache Junction have a high interest in computer programming.

Maricopa rated favorably as a place to live. Apache Junction led as a place to retire, while eastern Pinal’s Copper Corridor rated high for quality of life.

Casa Grande and Apache Junction/Gold Canyon led as a place to work.

Many people in several Pinal communities said they would recommend them to friends as a place to live.

Much of the interest in technology comes not just from newer residents but things young people have learned in school. And of course education remains very important to prospective employers.

The county clearly is changing, but it also has retained some of the things people always liked about it. There now is more congestion, but Pinal has more services. The world is changing always, and Pinal County is evolving with it, mostly in a positive way.

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