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Grand Junction, CO

Situated at the junction of the Gunnison and Colorado rivers in Mesa County, Grand Junction, Colorado, is known for its magnificent mountain ranges. The city is surrounded by mountains, including the Grand Mesa, which is the world's largest flat-topped mountain. Once in the custody of the kingdom of Spain, Grand Valley became the site for the town's early development after the exodus of the Ute Indians in the late 1880s. Grand Junction then developed into the center of a large farm and dairy region; the city eventually grew to be the focal point for oil and gas extraction. The city's population, which has nearly doubled since the 1970s, is estimated at about 47,000.

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

Beginning in the 1970s, Grand Junction acted as an important shipping and processing center, and its oil shale, gas, uranium, and coal-mining industries made the city extremely prosperous, (especially when fuel companies became interested in the region). Although the city underwent a widespread economic crisis after ExxonMobil pulled out of the region in the 1980s due to dipping oil prices, Grand Junction experienced a boom once again as oil and gas prices rose. Tourism has also become economically important, and retail trade, and accommodation and food service industries employ nearly 10,000 people.

NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS

The city of Grand Junction has some distinctive neighborhoods as well as many neighborhoods under development:

EDUCATION

In response to employer comments that employees and potential employees lacked job skills in the marketplace, Grand Junction's school boards and job centers implemented a certificate system in 2006 that would enable potential employees to demonstrate their skills to employers. The groups adopted the WorkKeys program which is used in other states such as Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, and Virginia to grant residents opportunities to achieve vital job skills. The program's success is evidenced by the more than 2,000 certificates that have been issued and the business community's enthusiasm to participate in the program and to hire people who have received a WorkKeys certificate.

There are also a handful of academic institutions in Grand Junction:

FOR VISITORS

Downtown Grand Junction features local businesses and a number of antique shops, art galleries, clothing stores, and dining venues, many of these with sidewalk seating. The area is characterized by Victorian-era architecture and popular community events, such as the Parade of Lights and the Farmers' Market Festival. The downtown streets feature one of the country's largest sidewalk sculpture galleries, which boasts nearly 100 sculptures.

Additional attractions explore Grand Junction's unique mountainous landscape:

EVENTS

Grand Junction hosts a number of popular events:

LOCAL MEDIA

The Daily Sentinel is Grand Junction's daily newspaper.


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