From the year 2000 to 2010, the St. Joseph workforce grew by more than 5,000 jobs. The 2010 workforce of 38,000 continues to climb as large companies like Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. plan future expansions, two new schools are being built, Missouri Western State University adds advanced degree programs, and new retail and food industries keep extending to the borders of the city.
Beyond the borders of St. Joseph, smaller towns add to the strength and expertise of the regional workforce with a total of 51,000 for Buchanan County. Rural communities that surround St. Joseph’s 76,197 residents bring their skills and work dedication to their region’s largest city making it one large community working together to make this region profitable, enjoyable, and attractive.
St. Joseph’s regional workforce offers the area everything from skilled manufacturing laborers to scientific researchers. The top three largest workforce groups in St. Joseph and the surrounding Buchanan County area are as follows:
Manufacturing- 10, 820
Life Sciences & Healthcare- 6,559
Strategically situating St. Joseph along the river, French fur trapper Joseph Robidoux knew that the city would grow to be prosperous. Later came the railroad to help the growth of commerce. Today the manufacturing workforce benefits from this transportation corridor, centrally-located in the United States and only one hour away from metropolitan Kansas City.
The Life Sciences and Healthcare workforce contributes to a nationally recognized region for leading research in animal health and life sciences. The global animal health industry is $19 billion and one-third of that industry is right here in this region.
Proximity to Kansas City also boosts the growth of St. Joseph’s regional retail workforce as it borders and blends St. Joseph’s $3 million retail demand with Kansas City’s $9 million retail demand.
Supporting this regional workforce is a solid educational system. In 2010, approximately 38, 535 people in the regional workforce had educational degrees. High school students in St. Joseph have a 88.6 percent graduation rate which is 2.9 percent higher than the state average. St. Joseph offers these graduates multiple higher education opportunities right here in the city.
Missouri Western State University (MWSU) prepares students for the workforce with multiple programs that offer associates degrees, four-year bachelor’s degrees, and a growing number of master’s degrees. In 2008, the MWSU campus constructed the Christopher “Kit” Bond Science and Technology Incubator that offers research labs and business space for companies in the Industrial and Applied Life Sciences. This facility offers this community the latest advancements in the immense life science and healthcare workforce that nearly dominates this region.
St. Joseph students can also gain their master’s degrees in business or education from Northwest Missouri State University which has a location in downtown St. Joseph. St. Joseph also offers three more technical schools that help them learn their trade with professional hands-on experience.
With a variety of skilled workers in the St. Joseph region and ever-growing education and innovative research opportunities, this regional workforce has much to offer to its community and communities world-wide.