REDI forges alliance to bring in more high-tech jobs

Saturday, January 31, 2009 | 4:01 p.m. CST; updated 9:45 p.m. CST, Saturday, January 31, 2009

COLUMBIA — Through a new alliance, a development organization hopes the Columbia area is better positioned to attract high-tech jobs.

Regional Economic Development Inc., a local group that works to bring development to Columbia and Boone County, has entered into a partnership with the Kansas City Area Development Council. The goal of this partnership is to lure animal and bioscience businesses to Columbia.

REDI voted at its most recent meeting to accept the proposal, officially called the Kansas City Regional Knowledge Partnership, which includes paying $25,000 to the Kansas City Council. Bernie Andrews, executive vice president of REDI, said the organization hopes to announce new businesses in the Columbia area within the coming weeks.

Other than working to economically develop Kansas City and the surrounding region, the Kansas City development group manages an area that stretches from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., to MU that's known as the "animal health corridor."

 “Our corridor is the largest concentration of animal health industry in the world,” said Lynn Parman, vice president of life sciences and technology for the Kansas City group. “We alone house 34 percent of the industry globally,” she said.

Andrews said Columbia and Boone County have resources that would draw animal health, nanotechnology, nuclear medicine and bioscience into the region, and a partnership with a large organization like the Kansas City development council can help entice businesses.

“They are a very large group," Andrews said. "They have resources that we simply do not."

Resources in Columbia include the MU Research Reactor; the new Life Science Business Incubator, which offers companies a place to facilitate their laboratory and business needs while providing access to university resources; and the veterinary and agriculture schools.

“Everyone knows that the university is the largest employer in Columbia," Andrews said. "How the university goes, so goes Columbia. Right now it’s seeing record enrollment; that bodes well for our city.”

REDI is funded by the city of Columbia, Boone County Government, MU and approximately 90 local businesses as well as the cities of Ashland, Hallsville and Centralia.

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Charles Dudley Jr January 31, 2009 | 4:37 p.m.

So what kinds of common labor everyday type jobs will this produce is my question?

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand January 31, 2009 | 5:25 p.m.

If by "common labor everyday type jobs" you mean low-wage jobs that require no skills and that any warm body off the street can do immediately, we shouldn't be trying to attract or create more of those.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 1, 2009 | 3:30 a.m.

Ayn Rand what you post is absolutely contrary to your views of that all people with disabilities no matter what should be working instead of sitting at home as you claim they all do now.

You and a couple others protest here practically daily about this when ever the issue pops up to the point of obsession over the issue.

So just who is to do the cleaning,the grounds work,the vacuuming,dumping of trash and those service types of jobs?

If you think those high prices techs would do it you really got a screw loose or two.

Those service jobs can be filled by us so called "moochers" as you love to call all people on SSI/SSD.

You cannot have it both ways Ayn Rand.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand February 1, 2009 | 10:45 a.m.

Chuck, "the cleaning,the grounds work,the vacuuming,dumping of trash and those service types of jobs" already exist. The number of those also would grow incrementally with each new high-tech company because like any other, they need those services. But those jobs will always be low-wage -- not just because they typically require little or no skills, but also because this is a college town, full of students who will work for cheap. (By the way, I did those low-wage service jobs for many years to pay for college so I wouldn't have to do them the rest of my life.)

It takes skills, education or both to warrant the $40,000 you say must have ( ) before you will return to the workforce. No company is going to pay you or anyone else $40K to scrub toilets, assemble circuit breakers, pick up trash, bus tables or deliver newspapers.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 1, 2009 | 11:14 a.m.

Ayn Rand you are still the one here complaining daily about there being people on SSD/SSI that must be working yet in your last post you say those jobs can be filled by college kids so which is it?

Either you want college kids only in those service positions or you want people with disabilities a place to work.

You still cannot have it both ways no matter how much you argue about it.

This is the problem with people like yourself and employers too as both of you discriminate yet offer no real solutions to the long term issue.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand February 1, 2009 | 11:34 a.m.

"Either you want college kids only in those service positions or you want people with disabilities a place to work. You still cannot have it both ways."

Sure you can. In fact, when I was a student, I worked in factories alongside disabled people placed there by organizations such as Advent. From what I've read in the Missourian and the Tribune, many disabled people still work for local manufacturers (e.g., Square D), both on- and off-site.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 1, 2009 | 12:04 p.m.

Sure there are some who can who do not have severe depression or anxiety disorders that might prevent them from being employed. Alot of disabled people are not so lucky unless you want all of them doped up so much all you have are walking zombies.

(Report Comment)

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