Fort Dodge is redefining opportunity in America
A little known city of 25,000 people in the middle of Iowa is attracting national and international corporations; expanding its longstanding ethanol and mining industries (particularly limestone and gypsum), and growing into a major center for agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, retail, and healthcare.
The city is Fort Dodge, and its economy is exploding. It currently holds a four percent unemployment rate, and over the next ten years, future job growth is expected to balloon by a whopping 42 percent, reports Best Places to Live.
Job growth in Fort Dodge will grow 42% in coming years.
“We’re watching Fort Dodge grow and grow and grow. There are so many jobs out there that it’s making it hard for me to find candidates for the dealership!” says T.J. Pingel, a Fort Dodge native and general sales manager at Shimkat Motor Company.
Construction has surged by a phenomenal 71 percent since 2004, including hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of industrial facilities built by the likes of Prestage Foods of Iowa, Nestle Purina, Cargill, CJ Bio America, Valero, Koch Nitrogen, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc, Calcium Products, and more.
For instance, Prestage Foods of Iowa, a meat processing company started by the Prestage family 33 years ago in North Carolina, is set to open a $240 million pork plant in Wright County, 15 miles east of Fort Dodge. The high-tech manufacturing facility will employ 1,000 people, including mechanical and electrical engineers, machine operators, and technicians, among others, and will bring an incredible $43 million payroll boost to the region.
Prestage Foods of Iowa is slated to add $43 million to their payroll for 1,000 new employees
“The plant is a ground-floor opportunity at a family company that promotes its people, offers strong benefits, and values its purpose. We’re very proud of working in an industry dedicated to feeding the world, an industry that has gone through a revolution in the last 20 years with massive improvements in efficiency and technology. This is a very interesting place to be,” says Jere Null, COO of Prestage Foods of Iowa.
The North Central Iowa facility represents a large capital investment for Prestage Foods of Iowa—it’s increasing the company’s workforce by a third—but makes sense for a business dedicated to “doing local food business in a big way.” It plans to take advantage of Fort Dodge’s large farm-based economy, which will allow easy access to lots of local hogs and plenty of employees to hire who are skilled in agriculture and technology.
Of course, Prestage Foods of Iowa isn’t alone. Companies from Nestle Purina to McClure Engineering Company and QPS Employment Group to UnityPoint Health-Fort Dodge and Dr. Clay & Associates need to hire after opting to expand into Fort Dodge. Their advantages include a skilled and educated population—it boasts a 91 percent high school graduation rate with 80 percent of its students attending college; a low cost of living—Fort Dodge is 17.6 percent cheaper than the Iowa average, and 21.8 percent cheaper than the national average, reports UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge; and increased safety—Fort Dodge’s crime rate index has plummeted more than 150 points since 2002, edging towards some of the lowest crime numbers for any city in the nation, according to city-data.com.
Cost of Living in Fort Dodge: 17.6% cheaper than the Iowa average, and 21.8% cheaper than the national average.
Fort Dodge is also a great location with first-class rail, trucking, and plane infrastructure. In fact, it is home to such trucking firms as Decker Truck Line with their corporate headquarters in Fort Dodge where hundreds of trucks are dispatched out each day, and trains pack the rail lines 24 hours a day to accommodate growing delivery demand, reports MIDAS.
The immense growth is creating a vast ripple effect. UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge, which leads the way in patient-centered care needs to hire occupational and physical therapists, 50 new nurses to add to its 400-nurse team, and a slew of physicians who specialize in family medicine, hospital medicine, gastroenterology, pulmonology, and more. Meanwhile, residential and commercial real estate development is booming, with 22 acres of new homes near Williams Drive, major strip malls like Triton Campus Plaza, and a myriad of store openings to add to an area that already houses everything from boutique and specialty shops to national chains like Kohl’s and Marshalls, and is largely considered Iowa’s northwest retail hub.
Fort Dodge show no signs of slowing down. As more companies, jobs, and people flood the area, the city promises generous economic opportunity for generations to come. To find out more, visit #ThisisFortDodge.