More than five years ago, business and civic leaders in Jonesboro realized the city and surrounding areas had a significant economic development problem. Jobs were relatively plentiful, proved by the historically low unemployment rates and the record numbers of workers employed in the region.
Wage stagnation was the issue. The median income in the city hovered around $42,000 per year, much lower than the state and national averages. Jonesboro Unlimited, a non-profit, economic development organization started a campaign, “Momentum Jonesboro,” to add 2,500 direct jobs in the region with wages that surpassed the median average by 2021.
Now that the goal has been met, a second phase of the campaign is about to start. JU has launched the Jonesboro Community Survey in an effort to plan the next steps in job creation, JU President and CEO Mark Young said.
“Our strategic plan has served Jonesboro well,” Young said. “Now that we are in the fifth year of our five-year plan, it’s time to determine new goals as part of our second Momentum Jonesboro initiative.”
Five sectors were targeted for growth – healthcare, manufacturing, professional services, logistics, and agriculture. An influx of higher paying jobs will be the key in changing the wage disparity, said Young, who is also head of the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce. Since the campaign started, which cost $3.7 million to execute, nearly 4,000 high-paying jobs have been created in those sectors.
“This is a great opportunity for Jonesboro residents to have a voice in shaping the future of Jonesboro. The insight and opinions we will receive from this survey can help us craft a forward-leaning economic development plan for Jonesboro,” said Chris Barber, JU Chairman.
The Jonesboro Community Survey is live now at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Jonesboro. It’s also available in Spanish.