Set amid six mountains, endless lookouts, arroyo canyons, deep caverns, national parks and forest, the Sonoran Desert and saguaro cactus, Sunshine City was traditionally considered the ideal place to retire. At a little over half a million people, however, Tucson is becoming a trendy, ethnic city for 20-somethings. It was Forbes’ pick to head its Best City To Rent list, and Tucson’s official mission is to be an “internationally recognized center for innovation and creativity in the areas of science, technology, and the arts.”
Tucson’s major industries are technology and education. The University of Arizona is ranked within the top 20 public research institutions in the U.S. and fourth for its health services. Its Tech Launch Arizona program seeks to support economic development and high-tech entrepreneurship. The university is one of the top employers in the area along with Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca and Raytheon Missile Systems Arizona Headquarters. TMC Healthcare and Carodelet Health Network maintain headquarters in Tucson. As for mining, Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold, Inc. is another significant employer, and ASARCO, Inc. is also headquartered here. Other high-tech employers in the area include Orbital ATK, Microchip Technology, General Dynamics and Boeing.
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