FERGUSON, Mo. - Centene Corporation announced Tuesday it will build a new claims processing center in Ferguson and bring up to 200 jobs.
It's a huge vote of confidence for a city that has seen weeks of unrest following the police shooting of Michael Brown. The CEO and chairman of Centene Corporation Michael Neidorff said it's time for action not talk.
"I called my board, they are behind it. It took them about three seconds to say we should do that," Neidorff said. "We said it makes a lot of sense to do this. It's the right thing for the community. It's time we do something. And stop talking about it."
In a statement, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said "Centene Corporation's decision to establish a new claims processing center in Ferguson is a huge investment in our local economy, and we are working alongside Centene to identify site locations. We truly appreciate their confidence in our community and hope other corporate leaders will follow their lead."
St. Louis Community College will partner with the state of Missouri and Centene to provide job training resources for job candidates through the Missouri Works Training program.
"We are the eyes and ears of the state on the local level here in terms of training, in terms of assuring that an effective training program gets designed, developed, and delivered, that folks get an opportunity for these jobs," said Steve Long, Associate Vice Chancellor for St. Louis Community College.
Good news has been in short supply in Ferguson in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting death.
Neidorf said the unrest is what prompted Centene to select Ferguson. He hopes the claims processing center and the jobs that it's going to bring will give hope to Ferguson residents, entrepreneurs, and small business owners there."
"It's a great community, and we need to show people that we have confidence in it," Neidorff said. "We need to give every small entrepreneur, every small mom-and-pop shops, confidence to continue to operate up there. Because I think it's a very valuable part of the city. I think it's good for us, it's good for our shareholders, it's good for the community. If it gives that community hope that's what we want."