Area organizations team up for Launchpad project

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JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin City Council is unveiling its plan for projects throughout the year. One big collaboration is called Launchpad. Missouri Southern State University, the Joplin Chamber of Commerce, and Joplin Schools are part of the partnership.

Toby Teeter, President of Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, said, “This is an opportunity where the business community works with Missouri Southern State University and the city of Joplin to build a robust city center that better supports entreprenurial ecosystem our talent pipeline.”

The Launchpad project has been in the works for three years to improve the entreprenurial ecosystem in Joplin. The program would move into the 48,000 square foot former downtown library on Fourth and Main. The project is giving high school students and MSSU students job opportunities.

“Not only are we trying to cater to our existing workforce and existing business sectors, but we are also trying to incubate 21st century business sectors like engineering biosciences and technology as well as entreprenuership.”

The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce also applied for a grant to bring code labs for adults to the community.

“We could take people that are not from an it background and in a matter of 12 months make them a full stack web developer and create more of that talent for our community.”

For launchpad MSSU would relocate their small business development center from campus to downtown. The university says the project would help students by connecting them with local internships.

Dr. Dean Van Galen, MSSU President, said, “In many cases students who do an internship go on for employment with that business so I think it will be really good for our students and develop the talent and workforce for the joplin area.”

Since Monday’s City Council meeting was a work session they are not making any decisions on the project. Launchpad is expected to cost $10 million. So far launchpad applied for a $750,000 grant in December.

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