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Business survey shows Maplewood is a good place to operate; high praise for K-12 education, public safety’s responsiveness and retention program outreach
Maplewood — City, community, and business leaders expressed optimism for growth and job expansion in the coming year at Maplewood’s annual Community Engagement Breakfast, held Wednesday morning at the Maplewood Community Center. This positive outlook comes in the form of a joint city and St. Paul Chamber of Commerce survey of 25 businesses that serve as community anchors or show growth potential.*
Business leaders highlighted strong K-12 educational opportunities, highway infrastructure, the police and fire department’s responsiveness and professionalism, and the city’s outreach efforts to engage in helping retain and grow their operations in Maplewood.
“One of the impressive data points is that more than three-quarters of survey takers identify their business as a Maplewood business versus a St. Paul business,” said DuWayne Konewko, Maplewood’s Environment and Economic Development Coordinator.
About one-third of companies plan on hiring in the next year; only five percent plan to reduce their workforce. Close to 70 percent of businesses surveyed plan to hire in the next two to five years.
Some of the challenges business leaders say they face is access to public transit, especially for their workforce. While they praise the K-12 and higher education system, businesses see a disconnect in the types of jobs that workers are being prepared for, especially in the areas of technical education and the building trades.
One of the potential growth opportunities businesses see is the community’s diversity and how to understand the needs and wants for newcomers to the region.
“I’m excited by these survey results and plan on working with stakeholders to leverage our strengths while addressing the challenges our community and businesses face,” said Mayor Nora Slawik. “We’re optimistic that the city’s collaboration with neighboring communities and the Metropolitan Council on the Gold Line and Rush Line Bus Rapid Transit will connect more people to jobs, Maplewood businesses and recreational opportunities.”
In addition to revealing the survey results at the Engagement Breakfast, the city also summarized the work of its Comprehensive Planning Committee, which is updating the city’s plan to meet the community’s needs over the next 40 years.
*Survey participants were chosen based on MN Department of Employment and Economic Development data, Greater MSP’s Key Industry designs and companies with a wide footprint on the city. These business range from Global giants such as 3M to locally owned and operated shops.