Move In 2018: CSU’s hometown among the top five best-performing cities in the nation

According to the Milken Institute, “Fort Collins continues to rise the ranks in this edition of Best-Performing Cities, climbing three spots to rank fifth. Fort Collins was the top-ranked Colorado metro thanks to its combination of tourism and high-tech activity.” Photo credit: AJ Cohen.
According to the Milken Institute, “Fort Collins continues to rise the ranks in this edition of Best-Performing Cities, climbing three spots to rank fifth. Fort Collins was the top-ranked Colorado metro thanks to its combination of tourism and high-tech activity.” Photo credit: AJ Cohen.
An outdoor concert in Old Town Square, Fort Collins. Photo credit: Richard Haro.
An outdoor concert in Old Town Square, Fort Collins. Photo credit: Richard Haro.

Best Cities to Live in America, Best Cities for Outdoor Activities in America, Healthiest Places to Live in America, Best City for Millennials in America. Those are just a few of the many top national rankings for the City of Fort Collins.

Now add a top-five national ranking among “Best-Performing Cities 2017: Where America’s Jobs are Created and Sustained.” In the most recent Milken Institute ranking, Fort Collins boasts a No. 5 national ranking.

The Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities U.S. index provides a way to measure which American metros offer the greatest opportunities for prosperity and innovation across the nation. The index measures metropolitan areas’ economic performance using outcomes-based metrics such as job creation, wage gains, and technology developments to evaluate the metros’ relative growth.

Fort Collins continues to rise

The Milken Report highlights several reasons for the city’s national rise: “Fort Collins continues to rise the ranks in this edition of Best-Performing Cities, climbing three spots to rank fifth. Fort Collins was the top-ranked Colorado metro area thanks to its combination of tourism and high-tech activity.”

Equinox Brewing, Fort Collins. Photo credit: Richard Haro.
Equinox Brewing, Fort Collins. Photo credit: Richard Haro.

The city’s economic prosperity also is highlighted: “Economic momentum is strong, with short-term job growth in the region second among large metros, and more than 3 percent above the U.S. average.”

According to the report, one of the key contributing factors to the success of Fort Collins is Colorado State University.

CSU influence

“Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University. The university is a major employer, and 32,000 students were enrolled in the fall of 2017. Both university populations provide a stable base for the regional economy, contributing to consumer spending. Fort Collins was fourth on the Bloomberg Brain Concentration Index in 2017, thanks in large part to CSU.”

The innovation the university brings to the city is another factor elevating its national ranking, according to the Milken Institute.

A researcher at CSU's Engines and Energy Conversion Lab.
A researcher at CSU’s Engines and Energy Conversion Lab.

“In addition to adding to the educational attainment of the region and creating a skilled workforce, CSU also acts as a hub for innovation, helping transform academic research into economic activity. CSU Ventures, the university’s technology transfer division, helps found startups, register patents, and engages with faculty and the private sector to support innovation in the region. In 2016, CSU Ventures celebrated 10 years of work, with 49 startup companies launched and $19 million in licensing revenue generated over a decade.”

Top national rankings are a commonality among CSU and its hometown of Fort Collins. And the success of the university and the city are intertwined.

‘University is a key partner’

“It’s an honor to be ranked No. 5 among the best performing cities in the nation in the Milken Report,” Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell said. “It takes a partnership with CSU to be a vibrant University City. The university is a key partner in the community by providing our high quality of life, a sense of place, a skilled workforce and hub of innovation. Fort Collins was recognized by the Smithsonian as a Place of Invention for collaboration and was recently awarded the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award; CSU’s presence in the community is central to Fort Collins being a world-class community.”

Fort Collins was one of only six communities across the United States to be designation by the Smithsonian Institute as a Place of Invention. A feature exhibition of the same name opened to the public on July 1, 2015, in the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation in the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

In the Smithsonian Institute’s exhibition, Fort Collins represented clean energy development in the 21st century.
In the Smithsonian Institute’s exhibition, Fort Collins represented clean energy development in the 21st century.

In the Smithsonian exhibition, Fort Collins represented clean energy development in the 21st century. By tackling environmental problems and creating clean, sustainable alternatives to existing energy sources, Colorado State University, the city and Northern Colorado business community are actively pursuing collaborations that result in local innovations with global impact. That makes Fort Collins the newest Place of Invention.

Places of Invention is an ongoing exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute and will be open to the public through at least 2020.