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Ogden City residents have been seeing growth and developmental changes in the city for some time, and the city is being recognized for its efforts. The elite entrepreneurial Forbes magazine just ranked Ogden 16th on its list of the best places for business and careers in the United States.
Even though over recent years the city has gone through drastic changes, from empty retail space and vacant shopping malls to a crowded 25th Street and national chains, many still seem surprised Ogden would rank so high. Tom Christopulos, director for community and economic development in Ogden, said Ogden has actually been at this ranking for the past decade.
“Ogden has moved significantly forward from the really decayed days when the economy just fell apart . . . we have made over the last two administrations a significant progress towards restoring the economic foundation of the city,” Christopulos said. “From this foundation, we expect significant progress to happen.”
Since 2007, Ogden has been one of the largest job creators per capita in the U.S., according to Christopulos.
Many factors go into how Ogden has become a prominent job creator for Utah and the U.S. Business Depot Ogden is also a job creator in the city. BDO used to be a major defense depot for the U.S. military when the railroad was still a widely used commodity, but since the ’80s it has laid vacant, only being used as a storage space for old railroad equipment and shipping yard debris. Now owned by the Boyer Company, BDO houses dozens of large distribution facilities for large manufactures such as Autoliv, Winco Fireworks Utah and Basic American Foods.
“It’s a great job, I love it,” said Weber State University junior Neils Johnson, who works at the BDO Outlet. ” I have been there for two years, and it’s really flexible.”
Ogden also has multiple marketing call centers, which provide an enormous amount of jobs, especially for students who need evening shifts. As the city becomes lively again, many underlining small businesses line the streets, from the new Alleged rooftop bar on 25th Street to Beyond Glaze, a fresh gourmet donut shop located on 24th Street across from The Junction. The Junction itself was a major renovation which has added many local and national restaurants, a Megaplex theater for moviegoers, and FatCats for the arcade-lovers and bowlers.
Thousands of federal employment opportunities are offered by the IRS, which has exploded in the downtown Ogden area, just opening its third building off Lincoln Avenue.
Ogden and WSU work to develop a stronger connection year after year, partnering to create many innovative new opportunities for students and residents. These programs include GEAR UP, a partnership between WSU and Ogden City schools, which helps students in grades 7–12 to stay focused and be successful, and the WSU Family Literacy Project, for which the WSU Department of Child and Family Studies partnered with Ogden-Weber Community Action (Headstart) to train parents in getting more involved and participating with their children in literacy activities and creating goals.
In another partnership deal, WSU is finally moving back to its roots with the new Weber Downtown store. Christopulos said Ogden City is excited about WSU’s new store off Washington Boulevard, which will open this fall and will offer a canvas bookstore, a mobile app developing facility, a continuing education space and more. WSU and Ogden City have partnered to offer scholarships for the mobile app development.
Winn Stanger, director for Career Services at WSU, said Ogden has five or six hot areas that continue to produce multiple job opportunities for graduating students. Stanger said there can never be enough computer science or information technology graduates.
“Employers say one thing about our area, pretty consistently, (is that) they have to import that talent too often and would like more of it to come from Weber State,” Stanger said.
He also said of the other five, all of the graduates from human resources, supply chain logistics, accounting and engineering, and almost all the health graduates, get placed.