Tis the season for college graduation, and soon thousands of new grads will be hunting for a full-time position. As students find themselves leaving the halls of Missouri State University, Drury, Evangel, OTC and Southwest Baptist University, they may be wondering where to find their next stop. Should you stay here in the 417 or should you try somewhere new? Is it even worth staying in Springfield?
If you find yourself wondering whether or not you’re fit for a life in Springfield, we’re here to let you know the facts: Springfield is an amazing city for recent college graduates to grow and thrive. We know it can be easy to stay in your “campus bubble”, so we want to dispel some of the most common concerns we hear about staying in Springfield after graduation.
“Springfield is boring!”
“There’s nothing to do here. I have to go somewhere else if I want to have fun.”
Not even close. No matter what you’re passionate about, there’s something in town you’ll love.
- Would you call yourself a foodie? We’ve got all the flavors your palate craves. With over 1000 restaurants, it’ll take you years to try all of the different cuisines of the city. Plus, with new restaurants arriving every year, you’ll always find something new.
- A fan of the arts? From ballet and opera to musical theatre and museums, there’s no shortage of ways to immerse yourself in the arts. If a concert is more your vibe, you might swing by the Gillioz, JQH Arena or Outland Ballroom to find acts ranging from local bands to showstoppers like Chris Stapleton and Michael Buble.
- Can’t live without access to the outdoors? You’re in the right place – Springfield has everything from top-tier golf courses to thrilling bike trails and more. Your next float trip is only a short trip away, with dozens of lakes and rivers surrounding the area. If you’d rather go camping, there’s plenty of campgrounds within an easily drivable distance. Fans of local parks need not look far — we’ve got over 100 parks for you to visit and enjoy. However you prefer to get outdoors, we’ve got you covered.
- Looking for something fun to do? In Springfield, you’ll never have to look far for the next new adventure. Whether you’re headed for a day at a festival, attending an open mic, checking out a debut art gallery, stopping in for a classy happy hour, heading to Millsap’s Farm for some freshly-prepared pizza, cheering on the local sports team or making your way downtown for the First Friday Art Walk, we’ve always got something going on.
“Springfield is the same as it was 20 years ago.”
“Why would I stay here? Nothing changes!”
Just check out the news — there’s always something new going on in Springfield. Here’s just a few of the many restaurants, retail shops and other attractions that have opened in the last year or two:
- Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium (named the best new attraction and best aquarium in the nation by USA Today!)
- Moon Town Crossing (event venue)
- Craft Sushi (restaurant)
- Progress (restaurant)
- Reverie (rooftop bar)
- Great Escape Beer Works (brewery)
- Menards (home renovation)
- Craft Axe Throwing (activity)
- Best of Luck Beer Hall (beer hall)
- Culture Flock (clothing retailer)
- First Watch (restaurant)
- Architect Coffee Co. (coffee shop)
- Galloway Creek Lofts (apartments)
“I can’t grow in my career here.”
“If I want to become an executive, I can’t do that here. There isn’t enough training.”
Whether you’re a future CEO or aspiring small business owner, you’ll be able to fuel your career passions here. When you’re just getting started, you can plug into The Network – a local organization focusing on providing leadership and professional development opportunities to Springfield’s young professionals. It’s not uncommon for members of The Network to be sought out for boards or commissions, allowing them to serve their communities. It’s also a great opportunity to connect with other professionals in the area, building connections that will last a lifetime.
Once you’ve spent some time in the community, you might be interested in becoming a part of Leadership Springfield. This organization encourages emerging leaders to learn more about the work going on in the city and shows ways they can give back. After completing the program, you’ll join an expansive alumni network that frequently connects to share job openings and resources for growing your career.
When it comes to employment, you’re in luck. No matter what field you’re in, you’re sure to find a place for you. For those working in health care, you might choose to work at one of our major medical providers, two of which are among the top 100 hospital systems in the U.S. On the business side, Springfield serves as a home base for some of the biggest corporations, including Bass Pro Shops, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Paul Mueller Company, BKD and Prime Inc. Positions at these companies range across a wide variety of fields, including accounting, manufacturing, programming, engineering, marketing, human resources, project management and more. If you’re considering starting up your own business, you’ll have plenty of support from the eFactory, our local business accelerator that helps provide capital to start-ups in the area.
“I won’t make enough money to enjoy life here.”
“If I move to another city, I’ll make way more, so I’ll get to do more.”
Let’s talk numbers for a second. If you were to compare your salary in another city to Springfield, it’s possible that you may be making more somewhere else. But, before we take that at face value, let’s dig a little deeper.
In Springfield, your cost of living will be 13.8% lower when compared to the national averages. Let’s take buying a house for example. In Springfield, our cost of housing is 30% below the national average, compared to Chicago where the cost of housing is 50% above the national average. A two-bedroom starter home would cost you around $63,761 in Springfield. If you were to take a job in Chicago, you may be making slightly more, but your average starter home cost would be around $97,950, nearly $40,000 more. The price gets higher for cities like Los Angeles, where the average starter home price is around $329,000.
Think of it this way: while you may be making slightly more money on paper, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be keeping more of it. Rather, you’ll have to pay more for your housing and other necessities, costing far more than it would in a city like Springfield. Especially when you factor in the cost of commuting and housing, in a big city you’ll likely be stuck with a smaller home that is further away from the nearest attractions, whereas with Springfield you can get the house you want exactly where you want it. Your total salary may seem appealing, but think about how far you’ll be able to go with that money. In Springfield, you’ll be able to enjoy everything you love in life without feeling the pressure on your budget.
Do you want to know more about staying in Springfield after graduation?
Download our relocation guide and discover what makes Springfield such a great city to call home.