Letter: Sikeston is ‘SOAR-ing’
The number one question I receive from those looking to locate a business or industry to Sikeston is “can this market deliver the talent I need for my business to prosper in your community.” The question of workforce is the first and most important question at this time.
Sikeston is fortunate. It has some God-given assets for business and industry. We have a great location in the center of the country and sit at the junction of two major interstates. Sikeston has the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers nearby with river ports and is surrounded by flat, shovel-ready land. It has developed highways to carry goods across the country. Leaders in Sikeston had the forethought to develop our own utility system which lower costs on power, water and sewer services than others in this area.
With those assets, the Sikeston Regional Chamber of Commerce and Area Economic Development Corporation have been focusing on another God-given asset, our youth. Your Chamber and Economic Development team has been focused on connecting our Sikeston R-6 students with career opportunities right here in their backyard. The Students Observing Area Resources (SOAR) program is designed to help student realize potential career opportunities in Sikeston, as well as make connections to fulfill their career opportunities beyond high school.
Sikeston continues to grow a young and diverse workforce. We need to seek out more ways to offer them opportunities to continue their education or careers in Sikeston. This will be that great talent pool those local and national companies are seeking. Some current programs include Sikeston Young Professionals and Leadership Sikeston, which provides an up-close look at businesses, industry while offering a professional development component. The Sikeston Regional Chamber of Commerce and Area Economic Development Corporation will continue to look to ways to engage and keep young people in our city.
Recently your Chamber joined with area industry to work on workplace training for those interested in such things as forklift operation, welding and other trades that provide jobs here. Tetra Pak, Orgill, Inc., Burch Foods, Alan Wire Company and Unilever are all offering ideas and/or training for student from the Sikeston Career and Technology Center.
Sikeston has so much to offer them in the future. We are now actively seeking an occupant for our 265-acre South Industrial Park. The South Industrial Park is a certified industrial site, sits in a federal Opportunity Zone and is located at the junction of U.S. Highways 60 and 61. In conjunction with Poplar Bluff and Dexter, Sikeston continues to plan for Future Interstate 57. This project would take U.S. Highway 60 to interstate grade and create major corridor from Little Rock, Ark. to Chicago and Dallas.
I am encouraged and excited to see all the things those much younger than I have to offer to our future. With all the efforts of our Chamber and Area Economic Development Boards, we will open the door for more of our young, talented residents to remain here and keep our city moving forward.
Go to www.sikeston.net to learn more about Chamber and Economic Development activities.
President and CEO
Sikeston Regional Chamber and Area Economic Development Corporation