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In a press conference held Thursday in Springfield, business leaders announced that as many as 500 new jobs are coming to the city over the next year. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann has this report.
"It's a great day here in Springfield, and certainly we are celebrating. I couldn't be more pleased to be here as a part of this announcement. [And] to help make it on behalf of Springfield, and on behalf of all of the partners we have in this project," said Springfield Mayor Jim O’Neil, who was one of several leaders at the press conference.
Governor Jay Nixon announced details about Expedia’s plans to expand its operations and provide many new jobs. According to Nixon, Springfield is one of many regions throughout the country that competed vigorously for this opportunity. Nixon sites a competitive package of state incentives as one key reason that Expedia chose Springfield.
"I'm pleased that my administration could play a pivotal role in making today's announcement a reality, by putting together a competative and strategic package of state economic incentives. The state's incentive package for this project includes $5.8 million [dollars] in Missouri Quality Jobs [program tax credits], $1.2 million in New Jobs Training, and $325,000 in Employee Recruitment Assistance," Nixon said.
Expedia, and its sister operation Hotels.com, recently signed a 5 year lease to renovate and occupy space at the former Springfield-Branson National Airport terminal. A 59,000 square-foot section of the north terminal is currently under renovation, with plans to open sometime this September. Nixon says that prior to this announcement; Expedia had already hired 270 employees in the Springfield area, and its plan is to add hundreds more jobs.
"This newly renovated facility, and major increase investment by Expedia into the Springfield economy, will mean the creation of up to 500 new jobs for hard-working Missourians in southwest Missouri. [Expedia will be] payingcompetitive annual salaries, while investing millions of captial into the region's economy," Nixon said.
According to Nixon, the past several months have been encouraging for Missouri’s economy, he says its well on the way to a healthy recovery. Nixon says that 27,000 new jobs have been added throughout the state in the past year alone, with most occurring in the private sector. He adds that the state’s unemployment rate is well below the national average.
For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.