Economic Development

Sage Glass buildingRice County is a vibrant region that spans almost 500 square miles in south central Minnesota, just south of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul.
The county is home to a number of historic towns that have kept and value their sense of tradition, but actively embrace the future through their desire to grow, and attract and retain a wide variety of quality businesses, industries and jobs.

Rice County, in partnership with its communities, works to foster an environment that welcomes economic development as a means to expand the tax base and create quality jobs, benefiting the county as a whole.

Key features

• Proximity to the Twin Cities and surrounding states – within 40 minutes of the Twin Cities/MSP Airport via Interstate 35, a major north-south connector. Several regional highways lead to Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois, benefiting companies seeking a diverse labor supply, and a robust and efficient distribution network.
• Business environment – A pro-business culture seeks and embraces partnership opportunities to meet the needs of companies looking to grow.
• Taxes – Residential and commercial property taxes are among the lowest in the state, providing a competitive edge, helping facilitate development, and attracting business and families.
• Land – An ample supply of land ready for development offers businesses a variety of choices to suit their needs.


• Businesses located in Rice County have access to workers within the county’s boundaries as well as the surrounding area.
• 90% of residents commute 45 minutes or less.
• Its labor market offers companies a diverse set of worker skills and abilities.
• A healthy population and labor force is expected to grow at a faster pace than other surrounding areas, which will help small to medium sized, growth-minded businesses find and recruit the workers.
• Its workforce offers the opportunity to accommodate a new breed of local businesses, those with similar but different workforce needs than those of current employers.

Education and training

Rice County combines a strong business climate with solid educational opportunities. Two liberal arts colleges, St. Olaf and Carleton, are located in Northfield.

For specialized business training, there’s South Central College, a community and technical college in Faribault. Its Customized Workforce Education center serves more than 15,000 people a year, preparing them for a variety of jobs. A Minnesota CareerForce Center is also in Faribault.