Brookfield, MO - Gov. Jay Nixon today joined local business, education and community leaders at Linn County Area Career & Technical Center to congratulate Linn County for being designated as a Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC). Linn County’s successful efforts to strengthen its workforce training program and certify its emerging and current workers helps attract and support growing companies by connecting them with a pipeline of talent.
The Governor also announced that local companies Brookfield Fabricating Corp. (BFC) and National Excelsior Company, both major steel manufacturers and supporters of the CWRC initiative, have plans to expand their presence in Brookfield and create dozens jobs in the area.
“Linn County is a community that understands the importance of its workforce, and its designation as a Certified Work Ready Community lets employers know that the folks here have the skills and talent companies are looking for,” Gov. Nixon said. “Already, this effort is paying off with two local manufacturers announcing significant new investments and new jobs in the area. Congratulations to everyone in Linn County for making these accomplishments possible.”
In 2012, Missouri was selected as one of the first four states to participate in the Certified Work Ready Communities initiative by American College Testing (ACT). The initiative aligns workforce training programs with the economic development needs of communities; matches appropriate applicants to jobs based on skill level; and strengthens businesses by strengthening the workforce. Jasper County, Missouri was named the first Certified Work Ready Community in the nation, and Missouri has 62 counties that are actively participating in the Certified Work Ready Community initiative.
“This is a very exciting time for our community and our county,” said Martha Beach, Mayor of Brookfield. “Not only do we celebrate the expansion of two of our major manufacturers, meaning more employment opportunities for our area citizens, but we are able to boast being a Certified Work Ready Community by preparing students and workers for those future positions.”
Brookfield Fabricating Corp. works with the Linn County Area Career & Technical Center to train emerging workers from local high schools in a welding program, preparing them for work opportunities at the company. The company first opened operations in Brookfield in 1985, and today manufactures fabricated metal products used in the transportation infrastructure system such as sign trusses, overpass railings, and bridge structures. To meet growing demand for its products, BFC will construct a 30,250-sq.-ft. production building and create 70 new jobs. Once the new $3.1 million facility is fully operational early next year, the company hopes to recruit workers with experience in fabrication, shipping, warehouse management, and engineering.
“The dedication, willingness and hard work of our employees have proven to be key components in this company’s growth,” said Chuck Woods, CEO, Brookfield Fabricating Corp. “The talent we need to be on the forefronts of the steel sector is right here in the city we started in.”
Also announcing its decision to expand in Brookfield at today’s event was National Excelsior Company, a manufacturer that produces sheet metal for HVAC systems in the residential industry. The company recently broke ground on a 20,000 sq. ft. expansion to its existing facility to increase capacity and keep up with the improving housing market. National Excelsior Company plans to add six new jobs with the goal to grow its workforce by another 14 jobs within the next few years. Once fully operational in September, the company expects for its $740,000 expansion to increase production from nine truckloads of product shipments a week to 13 truckloads. The company’s total campus footprint is expected to be within reach of nearly 100,000 sq. ft., and increase annual sales by $6 million.
“We’ve been in Brookfield since 1988 and have always had a superb workforce here, and it has grown over the years to the level we are now,” said Jack Forbes, General Manager of National Excelsior Company. “Our staff is the driving force – we make a lot of sheet metal and we are efficient and quick. We are starting to develop a real sales division again as we see new residential construction and home remodeling pick up in the Midwest.”
Construction in Missouri has been rebounding. Since reaching a low point in 2011, the industry has gained 11,600 jobs, an 11.5 percent increase. Construction employment for May 2015 stood at 112,900. Building permits also steadily increased last year, with 45 percent more housing units authorized since 2011.
By participating in ACT's Certified Work Ready Communities initiative, Linn County is:
- Helping workers understand what skills are required by employers and how to prepare themselves for success, as well as helping businesses effectively communicate their workforce needs to area education and workforce training programs;
- Providing educators with the tools needed to close the skills gap by establishing career pathways for students with stackable industry-recognized credentials; and
- Equipping economic development organizations with an on-demand reporting tool to promote the quality of their workforce.
To assist the two companies with their expansions, DED has offered a strategic economic incentive package that the companies can receive if they meet strict job creation and investment criteria. The City of Brookfield also is assisting with the expansions.