That’s according to St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Patt Lilly. Lilly said 2017 was the best year of business expansion St. Joseph has had in the last three or four years.
“I think, these things don’t happen in isolation, if you will. Obviously, the global economy has expanded over the past year, the U.S. economy has been red hot and I think that bodes well for us here in St. Joseph in the context that we have a number of businesses that have made decisions to expand in St. Joseph,” Lilly said. “Altec, Gray Manufacturing, Triumph Foods… Purina that is located on South 169 close to I-29. They’ll literally be building a new plant to replace the existing plant, which is a great investment in our community.”
Lilly said overall last year, there was $150 million in new investment and the creation of over 250 new jobs by existing businesses.
In looking toward the future, Lilly said one thing to consider in regard to business and the workforce, is how to help high school graduates.
“I think, for us as a community, we ought to be thinking about, what can we do to help these kids coming out of high school, one, identify a career or jobs of interest, two, provide training and the ability to earn certification and two year degrees and then, three, work with employers to get these kids hired,” Lilly said. “Aside from the business side of it, I think there’s a societal piece to this and that is, the ability to get people into jobs, young people into jobs and provide them a way to make a good living. Not only does that address many of the social ills that I think we’re seeing first hand today in St. Joseph, but it also will enhance the prosperity in the community.”