Economic Development News

CORE hosts Central Missouri Manufacturers
Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2014
By: Missy Bonnot, Director, Economic Development

Manufacturing is a very large part of the Central Missouri area employing thousands of highly skilled people with a high wage rate.   Recently Missouri CORE hosted an Executive Roundtable of the top officials in the manufacturing sector. 

What is Missouri CORE?  Missouri CORE (Connecting Our Regional Economy) is a nonprofit economic development entity, created in 2008, representing the five counties of Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Cole and Cooper. 

As CORE works to facilitate the attraction of new businesses and promote projects that have a region-wide economic impact it is crucial to assist in the expansion of and to support our existing businesses.  Well over 80% of all jobs created come from existing business.  While continually working to attract new business is vitally important, it is even more important to take care of businesses that are located in our region!   This is exactly why CORE decided to pull this important group of leaders together. 

Spartan Light Metal Products in Mexico graciously hosted our group with Ted Waltemate providing a very insightful tour of the facility.  Did you know for over five decades Spartan has been a family owned Aluminum and Magnesium Die Cast Manufacturing company with expertise in Machining & Assembly as well as Design & Analysis?  They employ over 200 people in our region and supply to the automobile industry.

After the tour the group had a lively discussion about workforce needs in our region.  Attracting and retaining talent is a topic at almost every meeting I attend and this discussion rang true as well.  Attracting talent to the center of the country and the center of Missouri is a challenge, especially if you are recruiting from the coasts.  Sad to say, but many people know very little about Missouri let alone Central Missouri.  More and more companies are taking the approach of growing their own talent.  Companies have been much more successful with this strategy in not only attracting talent but also keeping the talent you have already hired.  Training is a very expensive endeavor and you want to keep skilled and productive employees in order to remain competitive.

In our region we have many programs that are addressing the ever increasing talent issue.  We have over ten fine educational institutions in our area between the career centers, community colleges and four year institutions and we have advanced training and education in hundreds of programs. Many businesses have partnered with schools to tailor programs that meet workforce demands.  But the group concluded that more is needed and technology is ever changing. 

The CORE Executive Roundtable plans to meet again next quarter to take up additional issues.  If you are a top executive in a manufacturing firm and are interested in being a part of this roundtable, call Missy Bonnot at the Chamber!

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