Mayor weighs in on IBM adding 100 jobs to Columbia location

IBM adding jobs in Columbia

COLUMBIA, Mo. - IBM said it's adding more than 100 jobs to its Columbia location.

ABC 17 News told you about Wednesday’s IBM job fair Monday night, and now Columbia’s mayor is weighing in.

The company made job commitments to the state and the city of Columbia when it opened its location on Lemone Industrial Boulevard in 2010.

As the Columbia employment numbers dropped, ABC 17 news monitored the staff count to hold the company and the government accountable with your tax dollars.

The job announcement comes as IBM faces a deadline with the state of Missouri. The Missouri Department of Economic Development tells ABC 17 news the employee count, estimated at 287 in October, must reach 300 no later than August 26, 2017, or IBM will permanently lose another tier of its state incentives.

When asked if this round of Columbia hiring is a move to save that deal, IBM's Clint Roswell said, "I would say we're certainly mindful of that. It's called an incentive for a reason. We'd like to reach this numbers. It makes sense for IBM and Columbia."

Columbia Mayor Brian Treece said, "It's less concerning for me as a mayor, because most of the incentives on the jobs created are at the state level."

Treece said this addition of jobs didn't happen overnight. He said it's something he talked about with IBM's Columbia manager when he took office. Treece said, “At that time (the manager) said they were working to bring those new jobs online. That's how long this gestation period has been occurring, since at least April of 2016. And I was glad to see these jobs come across the finish line."

The mayor also said he thinks the incentive deal could have been better and said it has implications for the recently announced organic dairy farm development in north Columbia. Treece said people asked, “Is this another IBM? Is this another Mamtek?” He said that’s why it is important for him to perform the due diligence required when taxpayers are asked to invest in economic development.

IBM says it is looking for "new collar" workers. Roswell said, "New collar jobs is about skills not degrees. If you've got the right skill, there's a career for you at today's IBM."

The job fair is set for Wednesday between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. at 2810 Lemone Industrial Boulevard. Here is a link to the IBM employment website.


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