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Tom Dennis

Editor's note: Bullish on the Midwest

“It’s a great place to raise kids.” If you’ve lived in the Prairie Business region at any time in the past 30 years, you’ve heard that phrase.

You may have to take a pay cut to live here, the thinking went. But the good schools, safe streets and strong neighborhoods will make up for it.

Of course, neither regions nor cities nor neighborhoods are static. And now it’s time to revise the saying, in our view.

How’s this:

It’s a great place to raise kids – and to make a living.

That’s the lesson of this special Energy issue of Prairie Business, and the lesson comes through on every page.

Petroleum engineers can earn six-figure salaries right after graduating from the University of North Dakota. Two-year degree holders can graduate into energy jobs paying $60,000 or more.

Oil Patch cities such as Williston and Watford City, N.D., are back in growth mode, but with much stronger infrastructure networks than they had before. In Minnesota, meanwhile, some 60,000 people work in clean-energy jobs. That’s 2 percent of all the jobs in the state.

Agriculture has long been the region’s key industry – the magnet that pulls in dollars from afar.

And agriculture retains its vital importance. But now, energy also is providing a draw, and it’s attracting more people, opportunity and wealth than ever before.

That’s providing Prairie Business communities with ever-stronger leases on life.

Then there’s this: Earlier this year, the United States likely surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world's largest producer of crude oil, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported in September.

Bullish on the Midwest?

You bet.

Good reading,

Tom Dennis

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