TODAY'S QUESTION: In what ways do you think Columbia will benefit from a new IBM facility?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 | 10:19 a.m. CDT; updated 5:13 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 18, 2010

On Monday, information technology company IBM announced plans for a new service center that will eventually bring 800 jobs to Columbia.

Mayor Bob McDavid called IBM’s decision to come here “the second most important public-private partnership in the history of Columbia,” exceeded only by the founding of MU, according to a previous Missourian story.

He said IBM is expected to benefit public schools and government by paying millions in taxes. It also is expected to stir the real estate market by creating new demand for a projected 300 houses for company employees.

The annual average wage of all the new jobs will be $55,000, according to a statement issued by Regional Economic Development Inc., a public-private partnership that promotes business development in Boone County.

Department of Economic Development officials said the effort, dubbed "Project Tiger," would rank among the nation’s top 10 job creation projects in 2010, according to a Columbia Daily Tribune article.

The company will move into a vacant building at 2810 LeMone Industrial Blvd., and hiring of new employees is expected to start this summer. The company hopes to have 800 positions at an annual payroll of $44 million by 2012.

In what ways do you think Columbia will benefit from the new IBM facility?

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Gregg Bush May 18, 2010 | 2:43 p.m.

I'm hopeful that the will be a boon to the county. I happened to live in Richfield, Minnesota, when a major electronics retailer moved from offices in Eden Prairie to Richfield. We'll call that retailer Superlative Purchase. Eden Prairie had given all sorts of bonuses and special incentives for this retailer's corporate offices only to be out-done a few years later by a competing municipality who offered even more lucrative incentives.
Since our fair city is giving away so much, I hope we get a lot in return...and for a long time.
By the way, from whom will the city be purchasing the multi-million building? Is our commerical realty so depressed, the best we could get out of IBM was $1 a year?

(Report Comment)
Deborah E Jac May 18, 2010 | 4:52 p.m.

Being a resident of Columbia, I feel it's great that we are bringing more jobs in to our city, but also being a black woman raised here, I know that alot of us are not trained in computer technology. The jobs that would be available to us would not give us the opportunity to advance. IBM is coming So why don't we bring in a school that will train our people black and white alike to be able to perform in order to grow, then I will be proud of our Mayor. We put a bandage on the problem when we don't educate our people for growth. It opens the doors for those of us living here to be left in poverty while others with the training leave us behind as they move on to other places and prosper. I love our city and want to see it flourish, but I wish to see us grow as a community concerned for it's people and for it's uniquiness. So Thank's IBM and Thank's Mayor, but let's take this further let's get a school here that will teach our children the new world of computer technology in a classroom setting( a sugg. maybe ITT Tech) and not online

(Report Comment)
John Schultz May 18, 2010 | 7:41 p.m.

Deborah, it isn't the schooling as much as the person and their employer. At the company that first got me into the tech field, I had coworkers who had an art degree and hotel/restaurant manager, as well as a hotshot programmer who had no college degree. What all three had was an employer who hired them into an entry-level tech support job, then promoted them into higher positions as they proved themselves and improved their skills.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking May 18, 2010 | 7:57 p.m.


There's lots of computer training available, in public school, vocational school, and the colleges and university. One only has to take advantage of it.

And John is right about the person and their employer. My brother got in at the ground level with a major telecommunication/data management provider in the '70s, and he is now a well placed, well paid engineer, without a college degree. Ability can often mean more, in the right situation, than education.


(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith May 19, 2010 | 6:28 a.m.

One of the four UM System campuses has for years run a very successful array of non-degree programs aimed at improving personal computer skills and mastering use of proprietary software. Instruction is given in modules, and consists of everything from the most basic computer skills to very advanced material. Many businesses in that metro area have sent employees to take the courses, which with few exceptions are taught by contracted instructors rather than faculty.

Most of the courses are taught at a facility (probably leased) in Des Peres, Missouri off I-64, meaning those taking the courses never meet UMSL's regular students.

It's rumored this venture is a monster "cash cow" for UMSL.

But you guys know all this, because the two Columbia newspapers do a marvelous job of explaining to their readers what goes on at the other UM System campuses.

(Report Comment)

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