In addition to the large number of people who come to the state and who continue to deepen our pool of high-quality talent, our world-renowned education system graduates thousands of students into the state's workforce each year. Several training programs from a variety of organizations prepare more workers for qualified positions that fit the specific needs of companies. North Carolina has 53 colleges and universities, including 17 public universities. North Carolina offers an unparalleled quality of life.
From our beautiful beaches and majestic mountains to the idyllic areas in between, it's no surprise that people everywhere flock to the state. Add to that our central East Coast location, moderate climate, and relatively low cost of living, and it's easy to see why North Carolina is the ninth most populous state in the U.S. UU. North Carolina enjoys a lower cost of living than the national average, along with a high level of personal satisfaction.
If you're looking for easy access to domestic and global markets, look no further than North Carolina. Our extensive highway system, four international airports and two seaports make it clear why North Carolina consistently ranks as one of the top United States. One of its objectives is to establish a stronger partnership between the Center and the FSU School of Business and Economics. All of these forms of small and emerging business assistance organizations refer companies to external strategic partners and city departments who can help them.
The Fayetteville Business Center offers seminars and workshops for those seeking training or information to start and grow their businesses. Practical help is provided to form business teams, locate flexible spaces to grow, access financing, receive legal advice, establish marketing strategies and provide tax advice. GreenboroThe Small and Emerging Business Assistance in Greensboro program ensures that local businesses have the resources they need to succeed from start to finish. But those workers have some of the highest salaries in the nation, which hurts the state's position on the cost of doing business.
The Fayetteville Regional Chamber of Commerce partners with organizations across the area to help businesses establish themselves locally, succeed and grow. Raleigh has been ranked as the best business climate in the country, according to Site Selection magazine, ten of the last twelve years. Fayetteville ranks seventh nationally as a business center, due to its strong industrial base, along with its extremely hardworking local workforce. This promotes economic development in the city and provides an enriching environment for entrepreneurs and boosts business growth.
Businesses and their employees thrive on investments in customized training and education programs, and the low-cost business climate encourages innovation and aggressive hiring of external companies, as well as helping local small businesses. Greenboro, Fayetteville and Raleigh are just three of the best cities in North Carolina when it comes to business locations. And state corporate grant and loan programs have been given new life under the state's bipartisan truce. The low cost of establishing a business, good transportation infrastructure, and a quality lifestyle give North Carolina a competitive advantage for businesses.