FOUR STATES FOUNDERS - JOPLIN AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce
320 East 4th Street
Joplin, MO 64801
(417) 624-4150

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JOPLIN HISTORY & FUTURE

Past ...
July 1871 - John C. Cox laid out a town east of Joplin Creek and named it Joplin in honor of his friend, the Reverend Harris G. Joplin. Joplin came to life when several persistent miners began to gouge the subsurface of the earth, looking for profitable ores. More than 500 million tons of ore were processed from this area throughout a 75-year period. This area led the world in production of lead and zinc concentrates. Joplin was fortunate to be the center of the mining activity for the Tri-State Mining District, which consisted of Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Lead, and specifically zinc, mining created and sustained Joplin's economy for more than seven decades. Citizens of the Tri-State District shopped, socialized and banked in Joplin. The mining industry defined Joplin's role and provided the city with a viable reason to exist and prosper.

The Joplin parks system was created in 1898, providing for leisure and recreation. Dance clubs became extremely popular. The Conner Hotel's top floor ballroom provided that perfect setting for hundreds of dances, graduations, receptions and reunions.

The generation that could remember those glorious mining days of hard work and recreation are quickly passing. The new generation will never know what it was to live and experience the mining culture that permeated the community.

Present ...
Though we may never know what it was like to live in Joplin during the mining era, Joplin citizens can be proud of our heritage and of what Joplin has become. Joplin is located in the southwest corner of Missouri, and offers easy access to eight major lakes and numerous clear-water streams. Superb scenery and clean air invite people outdoors throughout most of the mild four seasons.

As the commercial, medical and cultural hub of the Four-State Region, Joplin offers quality of life amenities rare in a city of this size, providing services for more than eight times its population. Located just seven miles from the Kansas border, 10 miles from the Oklahoma border and 50 miles from Arkansas, Joplin attracts thousands of daily visitors who work here, shop here and enjoy the many attractions the city offers. During the day, the population swells to more than 200,000 people.

A diverse and brisk economy supports the needs of industry in the rapidly growing region. Unemployment is extremely low. Training programs are available, so opportunities for career advancement are numerous. A highly diversified manufacturing base provides almost 23 percent of the jobs in the Joplin area. As a regional provider of medical services, Joplin employs more than 4,000 people in the health care profession. The trucking industry represents another major employer, since Joplin is considered the "Crossroads of America."

The quality of any community depends on the character of its residents. Joplin's "we care" attitude shows up everywhere. From the cheerful greeting of the neighbor across the fence to the many volunteers in civic organizations, evidence of goodwill abounds. Numerous youth programs offering sports, academic and mentoring opportunities reflect a strong investment in young people. More than 130 churches representing most major denominations, enhance a commitment to values and family. "Having it all" isn't just a dream in Joplin, it's a way of life. The warmth and friendliness of the country combined with the vitality of the city make Joplin a natural choice for those who won't be satisfied with anything less than the best!

Future ...
While Joplin respects its past, it is also focused on its future. The world is changing and so is the Joplin area. Computers and the Internet have allowed businesses worldwide to operate faster and more efficiently. These changes have led to what some have called "The New Economy." Companies have discovered new opportunities that can be used to enhance their current operations and make money in rather non-traditional ways. Entrepreneurs are fulfilling their dreams using new innovative ideas. New technologies and sciences are merging, allowing major breakthroughs in health-related fields, including research and development in biotechnology and biomedicine.

These changes are also giving new opportunities to the workforce. Salaries are increasing dramatically for people in technology fields. These changes have created a new awareness in the Joplin area. There is a need for a new, skilled labor force, a new type of education and a new kind of employer.

The Mid-America Science and Technology Alliance has been created to address all of these needs. Business leaders, educators and the workforce have come together to solve local problems and create new opportunities. As the business community tries to ride the current technology wave, finding trained and skilled employees is becoming difficult. Educators are willing to take the lead in offering classes and training to people wanting to become a part of the new skilled labor force, which in turn creates new opportunities.

Joplin and the surrounding areas are committed to being proactive, and local business leaders, educators and companies are paving the way for the jobs of the future. As tomorrow becomes today, Joplin continues to be a driving force in the development of new ways of dealing with trends in technology.

Area Demographics ...
Joplin stands strong with a business foundation that is comprised of a skilled labor force, easy transportation access, reasonable operating costs and local government that is pro-business.

These assets are what assure a strong economic development plan gets successful results. With a daytime population of more than 240,000, Joplin is a magnet for the surrounding area. About 62% of the available labor pool in the area has at least some college experience and almost 93% of potential employees have a high school diploma. Many have technical skill training beyond high school. Open to new possibilities, nearly 90% of workers say they are willing to work outside of their primary field of employment for the right opportunities. To match the skills and talents of the workforce and to determine a targeted approach to future growth, the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce recently commissioned a study by Taimerica Management Company. The study results identified four business sectors to target as a way of expanding the area's already diversified economic base. These sectors are: distributions centers, administrative office operations, commercial machinery repair and custom computer programming. These sectors join Joplin's commitment to its existing firms in food processing, fabricated metals, transportation equipment, plastics and packaging technologies, customer service centers and retail. What makes Joplin so attractive for new businesses as well as our existing firms? According to Taimerica's survey of 65 area companies, key factors include major transportation access; a skilled, available and willing workforce; low operating costs and taxes and a quality of living that comes from being a hub city in a market of nearly 500,000.

For complete demographics, please contact Lea Schroer at 417.624.4150.