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Quality of Life: Working Where It’s Great to Live




The coronavirus pandemic has forced everyone to rethink just about everything we do. It also has accelerated tectonic shifts in our cultural landscape, mostly for the better. We’re not going to use the word “woke”—which has become a political pejorative—but it does seem like most of us have abruptly woken up in the middle of a nightmare with the same epiphanies.

Before this plague invaded the United States, our wealth, talent and opportunities were mostly clustered in our urban metropolises. As the pandemic (hopefully) withers, the national shortage of skilled workers has been revealed like the bed of a dry lake in a drought. With EDOs across the nation leading the way, we are embracing a commitment to a diaspora of opportunity: diverse, inclusive and equity-driven, which is the only way to build a sustainable workforce that keeps the U.S. numero uno in global competitiveness.

Millennials were already migrating to smaller places before this crisis; as we’ve said many times on our pages this year, they’re looking for affordable places with a superior quality of life that enables a better work/life balance (emphasis on the forward slash) with a 24/7 live/work/play environment. Getting locked in a remote location for a year (our houses) proves we can all do this. Turn the page and discover a future that has a lot of fresh air and fun.


As the workforce evolves and professionals have new expectations for their work-life balance, certain states are leaping ahead of others in their quest to attract and retain top talent and companies. Missouri is one of the leading states. Its natural beauty, rich culture and affordability are just a few of the many reasons businesses and talent find unmatched success in the state.

Missouri was recently listed among the top growth states in the U.S. in a U-Haul study that analyzed data for U.S. migration trends in 2020. The state is a leading destination for people searching for a central location that offers all four seasons, a vast array of landscapes and communities, and plenty of fun and adventure at an extremely low cost.

In Missouri, the combination of multiple landscapes and outdoor recreation offer the opportunity to unplug and unwind. Diverse offerings include rivers, lakes and even caves. The state’s 91 state parks and historic sites span nearly 160,000 acres combined. People in Missouri enjoy activities like fishing, camping, hiking, biking, golfing, hunting, boating, swimming, kayaking and canoeing. The Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri boasts 1,150 miles of shoreline—more than the entire coast of California. Missouri’s 240-mile Katy Trail bisects the entire state and spotlights charming communities along the way. After a hard day’s work of building the future of innovation at leading companies in the state, people in Missouri can open their front door and kick back and relax at the lake, float the extensivenetwork of rivers or take a leisurely walk on a beautiful trail.

Great art, legendary music and world-class theater take center stage across the state. The acclaimed Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and the St. Louis Art Museum highlight artwork from around the world.


The state offers an eclectic mix of music, as well as museums and events, that showcase Missouri’s contributions to jazz, blues, ragtime, bluegrass, rock and roll, country and more. Branson has been dubbed the “Live Music Capital of the World” and offers Broadway-style shows that attract millions of visitors every year. People in Missouri can catch a show at the opulent Fabulous Fox Theatre or The Muny, the country’s largest and oldest outdoor musical theater. The stunning Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts presents an array of music and dance performances. And Missouri hosts several annual film festivals.

Missouri is home to numerous world-class universities and learning centers—providing residents with the highest level of education. For those seeking a four-year degree, there’s no shortage of prestigious universities to choose from. Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri University of Science & Technology (S&T), University of Missouri, Truman State University and many others offer various degrees and provide Missourians with unlimited access to top programs in the U.S. Employers in the state find the best talentin Missouri thanks to support from the state’s new strategic approach to workforce development. In fact, Missouri ranks second in the U.S. for completed apprenticeships according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Nature isn’t the only thing you can connect with in Missouri. The state is dedicated to increasing broadband connectivity among its residents. Over the last two years, connectivity has increased by 7,000 households, businesses and farms with state investment and another 95,000 households underway with federal investments, allowing more students to participate in remote learning, and giving more adults the ability to engage in remote work. The state is currently working with the FCC on their Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which provides a stipend for citizens who cannot afford internet service.

When Missourians step away from school and work, they’re greeted by award-winning theme parks, aquariums and zoos that are perfect for visitors of all ages. Thrill seekers can find plenty of roller coasters, zip lines, parasailing and other action-packed activities. Silver Dollar City and the Aquarium at the Boardwalk in Branson, Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station in St. Louis and Worlds of Fun in Kansas City are just a few of the family-focused attractions people enjoy in the Show-Me State. No trip to St. Louis is complete without a visit

to the Gateway Arch—now a national park. Zoos in Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield are sure to appeal to animal lovers. From world-famous barbecue to fine dining, there’s no shortage of ways to satisfy appetites. Great barbecue can be found throughout Missouri. Kansas City even has a barbecue app to help folks sample their way through the city. Tasty treats like toasted ravioli and gooey butter cake were invented and perfected in St. Louis. Award-winning chefs are serving up an abundance of gourmet burgers, succulent steaks and great pizza across the state. With more than 125 wineries and dozens of breweries and distilleries, it’s easy to enjoy a Missouri-made beverage. Missouri’s wine industry is extremely fruitful. The state is a regular supplier of grapes to California wine makers and even saved the French wine industry in the 1800s. Today, Missouri benefits from numerous wine trails, while also being the home of Anheuser-Busch and boasting a growing craft beer industry.

Missouri has welcomed new investment from dozens of companies recently. From Accenture Federal Services’ new Advanced Technology Center that created 1,400 new tech jobs, to Swift Prepared Foods opening two new food facilities and investing $253+ million in the state, several companies are making the move to Missouri.

Missouri has the perfect mix of both urban and rural culture—ensuring there is something for everyone. The industrialized cities of St. Louis and Kansas City with their large millennial populations give way to farming communities and picturesque riverfront towns like Hannibal, the birthplace of Mark Twain.

The list of household names that are headquartered in the state or doing innovative work in Missouri is extensive. For example, cutting-edge tech is taking place at Cerner, Centene and World Wide Technology. Boeing’s defense, space and security division has 16,000 employees in Missouri, designing and building the world’s most advanced aircraft. The state is leading the way in agtech with companies like Bayer Crop Science, Boehringer Ingelheim, BASF and DuPont located in Missouri. Fintech giants such as Square, Wells Fargo and Stifel call Missouri home. And Bass Pro Shops, Edward Jones, Emerson, Hallmark, H&R Block, Leggett & Platt and O’Reilly are just a few of the powerhouses headquartered in the state.

About Missouri One Start:

Missouri One Start is a Division within the Department of Economic Development. Training programs are administered regionally by local education agencies (LEAs). In addition to meeting certain eligibility criteria, companies must be making a capital investment five times greater than the amount of training funds they receive.


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