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Rapid City, South Dakota - Manufacturing, Mining and Healthcare

Updated on December 2, 2015

Cloning of the Corn

Located in Pennington County, Rapid City lies among the Black Hills area of South Dakota and is on the list of Top 30 Cities for Jobs in the US at Number Nine. The city was awarded this designation by the job search engine at the end of 2008, from hundreds of city and metropolitan area nominations. Rapid City is a Top City is many ways and one of the stronger aspects of this is its purposeful economic development plans that have led to the rise of new industries and the creation of new jobs for the people of the metro area.

As a Top City for Jobs, Rapid City experiences a lower than national-average uneployment rate, meaning that there are jobs going unfilled, because there are not enough workers to take them. This status provides ample opportunity for job seekers that are willing to relocate to South Dakota.

South Dakota has been an agriculturally based economy and corn has been important to that industry - see South Dakota Corn Growers Association, in addition to cattle and sheep. A colleague of mine in the late 1980s perfected a cloning procedure for a variety of corn and took it to Idaho, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. Soon, other researchers developed newer and more effective cloning processes for corn and other vegetation as time and technology progressed and all this added to the agricultural development of western states. To date, South Dakota remains a high producer of corn as food, animal feed, and even biofuel in the 21st century, Agriculture has been joined by other industries as economic leaders in Rapid City.


In the past, the economy of Rapid City and the entirety of South Dakota resulted from success in Agriculture, Travel and Tourism, Mining, and Retail Sales. In the first decade of the 21st century, Chemical Manufacturing and Mining have grown further throughout South Dakota, along with Transportation and Transportation Equipment Manufacturing as major contributors to the state and local Rapid City economies. However, Healthcare and Military/ Government professions lead the economy in Rapid City in is huge regional healthcare system and local USAF Base (see listings below).

Rapid City Is In the Middle Of Several Parks

Rapid City SD:
Rapid City, SD, USA

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Mount Rushmore - 24 Miles South of Rapid City

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Badlands National Park is just a few miles southeast of Rapid City off I-90.
Badlands National Park is just a few miles southeast of Rapid City off I-90.
Badlands National Park is just a few miles southeast of Rapid City off I-90. | Source

Rapid City Wonders

Storybook Island

Downtown Rapid City

Rise Of a Regional Trade Center

Rapid City became a trade center after settlers flooded into the Black Hills in a quest for gold in 1874. In 1876, a small group of men built a village and began service miners and pioneers moving westward with food, hay for their animals, and other supplies. By 1900, Rapid City was known as a center of commerce and an entranceway to the rest of the West.

As the automobile was invented and improved, tourist traffic flowed through the Black Hills on various vacations and other excursions. Mount Rushmore was completed in the nearby mountains in 1938 by the son of a father-son team of sculptor after the death of the elder Mr. Borglum. The Great Depression did not seem to slow Tourism in the Black Hills, although gasoline rationing during World War II put a dent in it temporarily.

Around 1950, heavy contruction in the downtown area was planned and completed over the next few years until around 1960. Development subsided somewhat, but reinstituted itself after a disastrous flood in 1972 produced a requirement for extensive recontruction. In addition to this, new businesses and event venues were added, along with a large park along Rapid Creek.

Continuing partnerships among government and businesses in the metro areas created Rapid City Vision 2012, which extended economic and community development plants in to the 21st century. An explosion of new businesses, meeting places, entertainment venues and other additions has occurred since 2005, boosting rapid City's status into a Top 30 City for Jobs in the US.

Visitor and Tourism information and events calendars are available at Visit Rapid City.

Historic 6th & Main Streets

(public domain)
(public domain)

Largest Employers in Rapid City

The top employers in Rapid City are involved with Healthcare, Government, and Retail Sales.

  • Rapid City Regional Hospital Healthcare System - Search job listings online at the web site. This regional care system serves South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, and Wyoming.
  • Ellsworth Air Force Base - Government. This base also offers emergency landing facilities for the US Space Shuttle Program.
  • Rapid City School District - Education
  • US Federal Government - Various departments.
  • City of Rapid City - Government
  • State of South Dakota - Government
  • Various Retail Stores, including Sams Club and Wal-Mart

Hospitals and Clinics in Need of Healthcare Workers

  • Black Hills Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Black Hills Regional Eye Institute
  • Black Hills Surgery Center
  • Rapid City Regional Hospital
  • Rapid City Community Health Center
  • Regional West Center for Behavioral Health
  • Sioux San Hospital
  • John T. Vucurevich Cancer Center

Top 10 Fast Growing Jobs in Rapid City

  1. Registered Nurses & Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses - A nursing shortage makes Travel Nursing attractive with its additional or increased benefits that include tranposrtation and rent or mortgage payments.
  2. Retail Sales, Insurance Sales, Sales Reps of all kinds, and Sales Related Jobs
  3. Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts
  4. Computer Applications Software Engineers
  5. Computer Systems Software Engineers
  6. Industrial and Environmental Engineers
  7. Network/Computer Systems Administrators
  8. Mining and Geological Engineers, including Mining Safety Engineers
  9. Computer Systems Analysts
  10. Bill and Account Collectors


  • Clerks - Bookkeeping, Acct and Auditing
  • Customer Service Reps
  • Medical and Dental Assistants
  • Accountants and Auditors
  • Financial Analysts
  • Personal Financial Advisors
  • Loan Officers


Sports and Recreation

  • Primal Quest- World's Most Challenging Human Endurance Competition. Coed teams struggle their way through nearly 700 miles of Badlands backcountry in a production similar to TV's The Amazing Race. It is exciting to watch.
  • Rapid City Rush - Hockey at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center & Ice Arena.
  • Rodeo in South Dakota -- Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo. Popular and well attended as an annual event.
  • Black Hills Adventure - Rock climbing, golf, hiking, camping, horse riding, mountain climbing and others. See the Visit Rapid City link in the first section above.

Higher Education

  • Black Hills Beauty College
  • Headlines Academy of Cosmetology & Massage
  • National American University
  • Oglala Lakota College - In classroom and online degree programs, museum, Lakota Language Institute, many community features.
  • South Dakota School of Mines and Technology - This institution enjoys the reputation of status among the top mining and technology schools in America. Its Museum of Geology is well respected in the scientific community and heavily visited by tourists and school groups.
  • West River College of Nursing
  • Western Dakota Technical Institute
  • Wheaton College

Native American Nations in the Rapid City Area

Rapid City - Elvis Presley's Last Week of Concerts in 1977

Elvis's great grandmother was Cherokee. See material on Cherokee Nation and some of its interesting activities.

© 2009 Patty Inglish MS


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