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The Tall City Advantage

It is said that success breeds success. Nowhere is that more true than in Midland, Texas. Businesses relocating to Midland can count on a broad customer base, solid transportation infrastructure, an educated and dedicated labor supply, supportive economic incentives, and an outstanding quality of life.

Don’t just take our word for it. In 2015 Bloomberg awarded Midland the No. 1 spot on its list of 15 cities that have recovered best since the recession of 2009. The survey analyzed unemployment, number of jobs and wages to devise its recovery index. Midland took the No. 1 spot in both the top 15 list and the total list, with a 29.7 percent increase in the number of people employed. Midland also topped the list for growth in average hourly wages, with a 27.4 percent increase. Milken Institute named Midland the “Sixth-Best Performing Small City in the U.S.” in 2014, while Area Development magazine ranked The Tall City No. 13 for creating jobs and nurturing sustainable economic development in its “Leading Locations for 2015” list.

Despite a reduction in oil production over the last year, unemployment has remained low in comparison to other regions of the country, with Midland reporting a rate of 3.1 percent in May 2015. As industries in the region are becoming more diversified, workers are finding a variety of new career opportunities. From March 2014 to March 2015, the city experienced a job growth rate of 7.7 percent, adding 7,100 new jobs, including 3,000 in mining, logging and construction; 2,200 in trade, transportation and utilities; and 1,000 in leisure and hospitality.

Midland Development Corporation
Created in 2002 to implement an aggressive business prospect program focused on marketing to diverse industries, Midland Development Corporation (MDC) also supports Midland’s existing industry base in the retention and creation of new jobs. MDC’s current focus is effectively marketing the Midland Space Port Business Park to future companies. In 2014 an agreement was finalized with Orbital Outfitters and construction began on the Midland Altitude Chamber Complex, which will be owned by MDC and housed in Orbital Outfitters’ new building. Construction is also underway to transform an existing hangar at the Space Port Business Park into the new home of XCOR Aerospace.

Recruiting new medical professionals to serve the city’s growing population is also a priority. MDC has partnered with Midland Memorial Hospital to invest $2 million over five years for the health care recruitment program. MDC has also teamed up with The Center For Innovation (CFI) to support entrepreneurial and business development that will strengthen the city’s workforce. The partnership will offer entrepreneurs strategic access to innovative services needed to successfully launch and retain a business. In addition, MDC invested more than $1.2 million in 2014 to fund new infrastructure projects with the City of Midland.

MDC works closely with businesses to explore incentive options and coordinate with city and county offices. Further, the MDC offers information on available local and state incentives through its website, www.midlandtxedc.com. To bolster its economic diversity, Midland offers a Type A sales tax to fund industrial-development projects based on capital investment, the number of new basic diversified jobs, and payroll. Other local incentives include property tax abatements, Foreign Trade Zone, Freeport Tax Exemption, Enterprise Zone projects, a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, and chapters 380 and 381 of the Texas Tax Code.

Workforce Development Resources
Among the region’s many strong points is a growing workforce that is educated, technically skilled and more than willing to work. Local educational centers work continuously to adapt to changing job demands and offer specific training designed to provide Midland’s major industries with motivated and efficient employees.

Midland College provides a wide range of educational solutions for its students and the community, offering associate degrees and certificates in more than 50 programs and a Bachelor of Applied Technology in Organizational Management. Continuing-education courses for workers offer in-demand skills and the convenience of online classes. The Petroleum Professional Development Center (PPDC) on the Midland College campus is one of only seven mid-career training centers worldwide and provides quality continuing education to keep oil and gas industry professionals current in their areas of expertise. Many PPDC classes qualify for re-certification credits that engineers, geologists, certified public accountants and petroleum land men use to maintain their professional certification status.

The Advanced Technology Center is a partnership among Midland College, the Midland Independent School District, the Midland Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations. High-tech training facilities that include computer classrooms; specialty labs for welding, electronic, automotive and medical training; and multimedia conference rooms host workforce education programs for high school students to earn dual degrees and for area workers to enhance their skills and earn industry certifications.

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB) was the first school in Texas to offer a $10,000 bachelor’s degree in select majors. UTPB also provides master’s degrees, with programs including mechanical engineering and petroleum engineering. Through collaboration with UT San Antonio, UTPB also offers a doctoral degree as well as leadership training and research. The Center for Energy and Economic Diversification (CEED), located on the UTPB Midland campus, offers courses, research and other resources to the oil and gas industry and works to help diversify the region’s oil-heavy economy.

Those seeking careers in the health care field may choose from a variety of training programs at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Professional instruction is available in nursing, family medicine, ob-gyn, internal medicine and pediatrics, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) offers training assistance through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Program; the Skills Development Fund, providing training dollars for Texas businesses and workers; and the On The Job Customized Training program, which tailors training to the employer — especially focused on introducing new technologies or procedures.

Transportation Infrastructure
Midland offers businesses the convenience of integrated air, railway and highway transportation, with easy access across North America. Interstate 20 runs through Midland, connecting to both the East and West Coasts. Interstate 40 and Interstate 10 are within 150 miles of Midland, with easy access from several state highways.

In 2014, Midland International Airport became the first primary commercial service airport in the nation to receive official designation as a Space Port from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Now known as the Midland International Air and Space Port, the facility is the new home of XCOR Aerospace and Orbital Outfitters. Owned and operated by the City of Midland, the airport serves over 900,000 air travelers per year. Passenger service is provided by American Eagle, Southwest Airlines and United, with nonstop service to Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas and Denver and connections to major cities across the United States. Southwest Airlines Cargo, Total Logistics Corporation, Federal Express and UPS handle cargo and package shipments.

The Agri-Empresa Transloading Facility is an off-loading point for businesses in the Midland area, with service provided by Union Pacific Railroad. Located near Business I-20, it is less than a mile from David Mims Business Park.

La Entrada al Pacifico, also known as the Entrance to the Pacific Corridor, is a state and federally designated trade corridor from Texas to Chihuahua City, Chihuahua, Mexico. The corridor stretches to the Mexican Pacific port of Topolobampo in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, giving the Midland-Odessa area access to the international market.

The Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor is a multi-modal transportation corridor, including a multi-lane divided highway, facilitating the efficient transportation of goods and services from Mexico through West Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Oklahoma, and ultimately on to Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

Quality of Place
Midland made Obrella Insider’s 2015 list of the “40 Best Commuter Cities in Texas.” Using recent statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Obrella found that Americans on average spend about 25 minutes commuting to work each day. Lucky Midland residents only spend about 18.8 minutes traveling to their jobs.

The Tall City is also proud of its progressive police force, which strives to make sure every resident and visitor feels safe. According to statistics compiled from the FBI’s uniform crime reports, the overall crime rate in Midland is 21 percent lower than the average for Texas and 6 percent lower than the national average.

With the city’s population projected to increase to 200,000 residents by 2028, city planners are working hard to make sure the region is ready for an influx of residents and new businesses. Tall City Tomorrow is a long-term plan for Midland’s future that decision-makers will use for future development. A 14-member steering committee from a wide variety of professional backgrounds is assisting city officials in identifying the needs of the community. Residents have an opportunity to provide their input through digital surveys and public meetings.

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