A Center for Business and Education

City of Jonesboro

Jonesboro was established in the rolling hills of northeast Arkansas in 1859. Over the years, the community of 70,000 has become known as one of the state’s most progressive cities, as well as a major center for business and commerce.

Home to Arkansas State University (ASU), as well as art galleries, museums, a fine art center, an indoor sports / entertainment complex, a day spa, and numerous shops and restaurants, the city provides a high quality of life as well as economic opportunity.

FORBES recently ranked Jonesboro #32 on its list of Best Small Places for Business and Careers. FORBES also ranked the city #39 in Cost of Doing Business, #16 in Job Growth, and #92 in Education. Jonesboro has also been recognized as a City of Distinction for Workforce Development, and as one of the Top Ten Small Markets of the Decade. Multiple national publications have also recognized Jonesboro for its rich educational opportunities and entrepreneurial atmosphere.

Jonesboro is the fifth largest city in Arkansas, with a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) of over 124,000. The centrally located community enjoys prime access to many major markets including Memphis, Tennessee, which has been dubbed America’s Distribution Center. The city has become a regional center for manufacturing, agriculture, medicine, education, and trade, and its major employers are St. Bernards Medical Center and Arkansas State University. A positive business environment, diversified economic foundation, low cost of doing business, and qualified workforce have attracted many other enterprises to the area as well. This list includes a handful of America’s leading companies: Nestlé, Butterball, Unilever, Post Foods, Frito Lay, Nordex USA, Nice-Pak Products, and Riceland Foods.

As a regional healthcare center, Jonesboro boasts two major medical hospitals, both equipped with the latest in medical technology. The city also has women’s healthcare centers, surgical hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, behavioral health hospitals, cancer treatment centers, dialysis centers, general practice medical clinics and dental clinics – all of which provide a wide range of employment.

The city also hosts the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce Business Expo every April. As the largest expo in Arkansas, it is well-known for its business-to-business scope. Hundreds of companies are given the opportunity to exhibit their products and services under one roof at the massive event.

Arkansas State University, of course, is a huge boon to the community. With over 22,000 students earning technical certificates, associate degrees, bachelor degrees, and graduate degrees across 160 fields of study, the school helps to ensure that Jonesboro will maintain a qualified and dynamic workforce.

ASU also provides training and educational programs through the Delta Center for Economic Development and the ASU Newport – Jonesboro Campus. The programs assist new start-ups and deliver customized, ongoing training to established companies.

The university also houses the Arkansas Bioscience Institute (ABI), a collaborative research effort made up of five institutions. ABI’s mission is to improve the lives of Arkansas residents through agriculture and medical research. Significant areas of research include molecular innovations in food science, agriculture and disease, plant metabolic engineering and plant based protein production. The institute partners with Jonesboro companies to conduct research and is an invaluable resource for faculty, students, and local industry.

Jonesboro has the quality of life to match its business opportunities. The cost of living is 16.5 percent below the national average, and the city reliably ranks as one of the most affordable places to live in America. The median home price is only $87,000 and utility rates are some of the lowest in the country. Jonesboro is also known for its close-knit community and friendly citizens, attributes that continue to attract newcomers – and encourage them to settle long term.

The city is also one that celebrates art and culture. The Fowler Center, a state-of-the-art performance facility, hosts at least 12 professional performances each year in addition to ASU University Theater Department productions. The Forum, Jonesboro’s local community theatre, typically puts on six plays a year, while the Foundation of the Arts gives drama, art, and dance lessons. The city also boasts a number of local art galleries. Locals also enjoy access to ASU’s many concerts, lectures, and art exhibits, as well as to the Arkansas State University Museum. Jonesboro is also the site of the Hampson Museum, Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, and Parkin Archaeological State Park.

Jonesboro residents can experience nature at the Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center. The facility has exhibits about local geology and wildlife as well as trails, activities and educational programs. The site also serves as a stop along Crowley’s Ridge National Scenic Byway, which takes motorists through many of the region’s natural wonders.

Downtown Jonesboro, located just two miles from ASU’s main campus, is quickly becoming Northeast Arkansas’ favorite place to shop and dine. The downtown boasts some of the tri-state area’s most well-known and popular businesses including nine trendy retailers and boutiques, 13 dining venues, 12 cultural and art organizations (including the Forum), and nine upscale health and beauty businesses.

Jonesboro has been so successful in keeping its downtown alive that Arkansas Business named it a City of Distinction for Main Street Preservation. And, in October 2013, the Downtown Jonesboro Association reached its goal of becoming an official Main Street community, an affiliate of Main Street Arkansas, a branch of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.

Jonesboro’s history goes beyond the preserved streets of its quaint downtown. More than 770 military actions took place in Arkansas between 1861 and 1865, and the war touched every community and county in the state – including Jonesboro. The town is located along Davidson’s Approach, a movement of U.S. General John Wynn Davidson’s troops during the Little Rock Campaign and U.S. General Frederick Steele’s movement during the second phase of the Pea Ridge Campaign. These, along with two other historic Civil War routes and movements of the Trail of Tears, are now part of the Arkansas Heritage Trails System. Jonesboro’s Civil War history comes alive during the Sesquicentennial Commission, which runs from 2011-2015 in commemoration of the Civil War’s 150th anniversary.

Jonesboro already has plenty to offer, but the city is still committed to attracting new businesses and industries. A particularly important goal is to keep ASU graduates in town, especially those in the technology fields. Jonesboro is planning carefully for future economic growth and already has several industrial parks with plenty of room for expansion, as well as access to an efficient transportation network.

Furthermore, Jonesboro is in the process of developing its first comprehensive plan, Jonesboro Vision 2030. The goal is to create an even better community and a higher standard of living for the entire region. The plan is being designed to meet the current and future needs of all citizens, while simultaneously upholding core community values. Jonesboro Vision 2030 will act as a guide for decisions related to the city’s built and natural environment, and will ensure that these decisions reflect the priorities of the community and balance the need for growth with the need to maintain Jonesboro’s quality of life.

Jonesboro is home to a burgeoning economy, top notch educational opportunities, and an enviable quality of life. With a commitment to continuous improvement – and the guidance of the Jonesboro Vision 2030 – the city’s future looks bright.

For more information about City of Jonesboro, please visit http://www.jonesboro.org

June 19, 2018, 8:13 AM EDT

A Proactive Approach to Resolving a Longstanding Debate

About forty skilled Central and South American workers from Ecuador, Peru, Columbia and Costa Rica came to British Columbia, Canada as temporary foreign workers (TFWs) in 2006. This story incited Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) call for reforms to Canada’s TFW program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP). LiUNA, a powerful voice within the construction industry with over half a million members – 110,000 of whom are in Canada – has been the only Canadian union to address the issue.