In biology, diversity is essential for ecosystems to be productive, to grow, and to thrive. Greater diversity of plants and animals ensures a stronger community composed of species that work together, rely on each other, and strengthen the entire ecosystem. Diversity within human communities is just as essential. In St. Joseph, the regional workforce diversity is rich with craftsmen, scientists, educators, manufacturers, sales associates, farmers, and an entire array of employees with their own essential skills that they contribute to the community.
As of January 2013, there were 62,500 jobs in the St. Joseph metro area. This is 900 more jobs than the previous year. For St. Joseph’s more than 76,000 citizens, there are multiple opportunities to find the right career in such a diverse regional workforce. The largest workforce group in St. Joseph is employed in manufacturing. According to the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers business summary, there are 7,840 people who work in the manufacturing business within the St. Joseph city limits. If you include the extended workforce in Buchanan County, the numbers rise to almost 11,000 people. The average annual salary of these workers is $39,325.
A large part of St. Joseph’s regional workforce is skilled laborers. Property owners and companies have more than 312 businesses to choose from for their construction needs. These skilled laborers have their part working with business leaders in new construction projects for businesses and expansions for everything from research laboratories to schools. New subdivisions are sprouting, offering an array of new homes to the community.
The healthcare regional workforce encompasses 6,330 employees. With a regional medical center in the city that includes a diversity of special services for patients, medical professionals of all types may find opportunities for employment and the citizens of the city do not have to travel far to gain necessary treatment for their medical needs.
Teachers plant the seeds of knowledge and keep the community growing. In St. Joseph, the workforce of educational institutions and libraries includes a little more than 1,900 people. With multiple options to continue academics after high school, the regional workforce has the opportunity to keep growing and keep learning about new technology and techniques in their career field.
Those in retail trade, including apparel, home furnishings, eating and drinking establishments, auto dealers, and grocery stores, number 8,917 strong and offer dining choices for each palate and fashion choices for each family. Nearly 251 members of the regional workforce are involved in agriculture and mining. Sometimes the food doesn’t travel far to reach those grocery stores. Fresh products from local farmers retain their healthy nutrients in their short commute and keeps money in the community.
Whether the regional workforce members tap computer keys or steel nails throughout the day, they are an educated group of individuals. In 2010, approximately 38, 535 people in St. Joseph had educational degrees. The graduation rate of 88.6 percent is higher than the state average and multiple schools of higher education in the city offer technical training and academic degrees for a diverse number of careers.
In diversity there is strength, and in St. Joseph the diverse talents of its regional workforce give the community a small town spirit of helping your neighbor and big city productivity.