Economic Development News
2017 - What a Year!
Snapshot of Economic Development activities in 2017
Published: Thursday, February 15, 2018 11:00 am
By: Missy Bonnot, Director, Economic Development
2017 started out with a bang when we initially began working on a business attraction project called Project Pack. The owner of the company came to Jefferson City on a cold February day and was interested in expanding the company to the Chamber owned spec building. The company was Axium Plastics and they had a vision of buying the 50,000 square foot building, expanding it an additional 75,000 square feet and creating 80 jobs and making an $18 million investment. I might add the company has now created close to 100 jobs and has invested over $26 million, growing much more quickly than originally anticipated.
In March we attended the Site Selection Guild. This is a group of approximately 50 site selection consultants that come together to discuss best practices in economic development. The Guild members provide location strategy to corporations across the globe and for every industry, sector and function. This was a great opportunity to promote Jefferson City, MO to the members as a location in which to do business.
The 2nd Annual Job Fair at Jefferson City High School was held in April. Students had the opportunity to meet with 25 local businesses that were looking to hire upon their graduation in May. There are many High School Seniors that would like to begin their career immediately after high school and this group is a very important part of our up and coming workforce. The unemployment rate is at a 20 year low and Jefferson City has one of the lowest rates in the state.
May was a particularly exciting month as we closed on the Spec Building! The Spec building was built in 2007 as an economic development tool to attract a new business and that it did! Axium Plastics hired a local contractor, Stark Construction Services, and got started right away on finishing out the 50,000 Square Feet.
Over 50 students came together in June as we kicked off JC 101 with Jeff City START. This initiative connects students seeking internships to local businesses and organizations, and also connects students who are interning in Jefferson City to our community. This program offers interns opportunities to learn more about our community, to network with community leaders and young professionals and to grow professionally as they begin to make choices about their career path hopefully in Jefferson City!
Jefferson City is located on a river and our community has been discussing the need for a Port for decades! 2017 was the year it was decided, “Let’s quit talking about it and let’s determine whether a Port is feasible in our community. In July, we hosted consultants from Cambridge Systems to tour potential Port sites and Jefferson City, Cole County, Callaway County and the Chamber partnered together to hire Cambridge to conduct a Port Feasibility Study.
Retail is a huge part of our economy and we need to make sure our retailers are healthy and thriving for many reasons. As part of this effort, in August, we set out to survey over 50 retailers in our community. Look for more retail information in 2018! Check out our website to see the Retail Survey results.
As part of our Workforce efforts, the school year was kicked off in September with Guidance Counselor tours of several of our top manufacturers. This tour provided counselors insight into the many types of positions their students could attain.
For many years we have heard from our members they would like a central depository for Job Opportunities in Jefferson City. October was the month we launched the Job Board. To find a job or post a job check out our website. We have nearly 100 jobs posted and it is growing every day.
A Job Fair was conducted specifically for Amcor in November. Earlier in the year the company announced it was laying off 130 people and closing the operation in Jefferson City. This was very disappointing news to say the least and over 20 companies came together to offer new positions to the affected workers. With such low unemployment, the Amcor workforce was quickly absorbed and provided a skilled labor pool to our existing employers.
December wrapped up the year with the third marketing event geared to site selection consultants in Greenville/Atlanta. Chamber staff had the opportunity to sit down one on one with 15 consultants representing 6 well renowned firms to discuss the business advantages in Missouri and more specifically Jefferson City.
This is just a snapshot of 2017 and the exciting initiatives we facilitated and were a part of.
2018 proves to be off with a bang as well and our team is working on the workplan to include some of the same topics like Workforce Development, Retail Enhancement and Business Attraction/Site Development Initiatives.