The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 30, 2012

Regional group launches prosperity plan for Joplin and area

From staff reports

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — A plan to grow better-paying jobs, enhance the local workforce through education and improve the quality of life in a seven-county area was unveiled today by the Joplin Regional Prosperity Initiative.

Dozens of community leaders and education officials gathered this morning at the Carl Junction Community Building to hear the findings of a study by Market Street Services, a consulting firm, to promote economic development on a regional level.

The plan will lead to the formation of the Joplin Regional Economic Development Alliance, which will be implemented on July 1 after an implementation committee is formed and a series of public meetings are held in the region. That date will mark the beginning of a 5-year economic-development push.

The committee will be made up of three working groups that will focus on education and workforce, business development and attraction, and quality of life and community amenities.

The alliance will hire three people to direct and coordinate the plan. Funding will come from the participating cities and counties in the region, which is defined by Labette, Cherokee and Crawford counties in Kansas, Ottawa County in Oklahoma and Jasper, Newton and McDonald counties in Missouri.

Funding will need to increase from $700,000 to $1 million annually.