Economic Development News

Regional Economic Development vital to business attraction
Published: Wednesday, December 17, 2014
By: Missy Bonnot, Director, Economic Development

The Chamber contracts with the City of Jefferson and the County of Cole to provide economic development activities.  As part of the functions we perform, one of the most challenging, for a variety of reasons, includes Business Attraction activities. 

Many site consultants and companies will tell you they don’t start looking at communities right away in the process of searching for a new site location.  Site selection is more like a funnel; it begins by looking at a multiple state area and then down to a few states.  From there, a few regions are focused in on and then down to a few communities.  Through this process, the decision makers are looking for reasons to eliminate communities that just don’t work for the project for whatever reason.

So in the world of economic development it is becoming more and more important to work collectively with your neighbors and not against them.   

Cole County is part of a regional economic development entity called Missouri CORE (Connecting Our Regional Economy).  Cole County along with Audrain, Boone, Callaway and Cooper all work together through CORE to market our region and promote projects that have a region-wide economic impact.

 At a glance:
  • Population of CORE region is 314,779
  • Median household income in CORE counties is $49,372, 16% higher than statewide median income
  • 12 colleges and universities in the CORE region enroll more than 69,000 students
  • The civilian labor market for the 5 county CORE region area labor market is over 176,000

The CORE region has a population of 314,779 and is represented by five key cities - Columbia, Jefferson City, Fulton, Mexico and Boonville.  These five cities are a labor magnet for employment for the greater area labor market since more workers commute into the area than out for employment.

There are different investor members that make up the entity: Economic Development members, Business Partner members and Higher Education members.  These members are the stakeholders of our region that have a vested interest in seeing our region grow and prosper.

CORE uses a cooperative approach to business attraction and retention, workforce education, and collectively promoting projects that have a region-wide economic impact.

The CORE organization focuses on four fundamental program areas:

  1. Regional Marketing – Market our region as a whole, with attention to major assets and resources as well as workforce supply and education applicable to business attraction.
  2. Expansion and Retention – Create a regional Corporate Roundtable, with key leaders from companies within the CORE, to drive programming for major business in the region, and address key issues to support our region.
  3. Entrepreneurship and Innovation – Map entrepreneurial assets of the public and private sector while ensuring access to the resources by businesses, companies and indivduals who need them.  Create a Regional Entrepreneurial Summit.
  1. Higher Education- Higher Education is aligned with workforce development and CORE has created a Higher Education Consortium  which includes representatives from the regional higher education institutions, meeting on a regular basis to discuss how to collaborate and support the economic development efforts

 More information about Missouri CORE can be found at

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