From: Missouri Department of Economic Development []
Sent: Friday, March 21, 2014 6:01 AM
Subject: Missouri Focus - The Economic Development Newsletter for the State of Missouri
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March 21, 2014
North America’s Largest Roofing Manufacturer to Open Facility in Moberly
GAF Roofing, the largest roofing manufacturer in North America, recently announced plans to build a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Moberly. “In today’s global economy, companies like GAF have many options for where to take their jobs and investments. By choosing to build its new state-of-the-art plant here in Moberly, GAF is recognizing Missouri’s competitive business climate and highly skilled workforce,” said Gov. Nixon. “We are very proud to welcome GAF to the Show-Me State.” GAF Roofing will invest nearly $149 million to develop a 147-acre site for a new shingle laminator facility, an expansion that is expected to create 125 new jobs. Gov. Nixon met with senior GAF executives at the company’s headquarters in Wayne, N.J. during a domestic trade mission to New York and New Jersey last year. The company’s 320,000 square-foot Moberly facility will house both manufacturing operations and warehousing, allowing it to serve its regional clients more efficiently. Read more... 

Watlow® to Invest $30 Million in Maryland Heights Advanced Technology Center
Watlow® recently announced plans to reconstruct its facility in Maryland Heights into a new Advanced Technology Center (ATC). The project includes 30,000 square-feet of new construction, as well as renovations to 56,000 square-feet of current space, a capital investment of $30 million that includes the building and additional equipment costs. “Along with providing a beautiful building for our community, we plan to create 50 new jobs after the building completion,” said Peter Desloge, Watlow’s Chairman and CEO. He also noted, “Watlow is committed to the St. Louis area.” Along with its headquarters in St. Louis, Watlow, the industry leader in the designing and manufacturing of complete thermal systems, also currently maintains an R&D center in Fenton and manufacturing facilities in Columbia, Hannibal and St. Louis. Construction of the Advanced Technology Center is slated to begin in the fall of 2014. Read more... 

Specialty Merchandise Designer to Invest $4.5 Million in St. Clair
River’s Edge, an international specialty merchandise designer, importer and distributor, recently announced plans to expand into a new facility in St. Clair, a capital investment of $4.5 million that is expected to create 15 new jobs. River’s Edge designs, imports and distributes gifts, décor, and novelty items for outdoor and western enthusiasts. From its headquarters in St. Clair, the company serves a diverse global client base of more than 6,500 customers. “This expansion represents an exciting new phase in the growth and success of River’s Edge,” said Pat Wrob, president of the company. “We take great pride in the unique products and high-quality service that River’s Edge provides and we’re glad the City of St. Clair and the State of Missouri provide an environment accommodating to business growth.” The company broke ground on the new facility in September 2013, and expects it to be operational by August 2014. Read more...

Missouri Companies are Recognized as J.D. Power 2014 Customer Champions
J.D. Power, a global marketing information services company, in conjunction with FORTUNE Custom Publishing, recently released a list recognizing 50 companies that provide outstanding service to their most important critics – their customers. The J.D. Power 2014 Customer Champions were selected based on customer feedback attesting to service excellence, evaluating performance in five key areas identified by the J.D. Power 5 Ps: people, presentation, price, process and product. This year, four Missouri companies were recognized as J.D. Power customer champions for 2014. Those companies include Drury Hotels, Enterprise, National and Scottrade, all based in St. Louis. “The 50 companies we’ve recognized as Customer Champions demonstrate the highest levels of serve excellence, not just compared with their direct competitors, but also across all facets of the customer experience,” said Finbarr O’Neill, president of J.D. Power. Read more...

Missouri Arts Council Announces 2014 Poetry Out Loud State Finals Champion
The Missouri state finals of the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest were held on March 13 in the Harry S Truman Building in Jefferson City. Thomas Fields, a senior at St. Louis University High School in St. Louis, was named the 2014 Missouri state champion of the contest, and will now go on to the national finals on April 28-30 in Washington, D.C. Sara Ashbaugh, a senior at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, received second place in the state finals. At the national finals, winners will receive $50,000 total in scholarships and school stipends, with a $20,000 college scholarship for the Poetry Out Loud national champion. The 10 regional Missouri winners were chosen from more than 5,000 students who took part in the series of competitions that began in their high school classrooms. The 10 regional champions included:

     • Central: Sara Ashbaugh, senior, Rock Bridge High School (Columbia)
     • Kansas City North: Kyle McDonald, junior, Kansas City Academy
     • Kansas City South: Alyssa Moncure, sophomore, Notre Dame de Sion High School
     • Northeast: Ali Walker, senior, Troy Buchanan High School (Troy)
     • Northwest: Alex Hall, freshman, St. Joseph Home School Group
     • Southeast: Reagan Kapp, senior, Notre Dame Regional High School 
                            (Cape Girardeau)
     • Southwest: Enoch Bradshaw, senior, Stockton High School (Stockton)
     • St. Charles County: Thomas Fields, senior, St. Louis University High School
     • St. Louis City: Essence Imani Lee (2013 Missouri State Champion), senior, 
                                 Crossroads College Preparatory School
     • St. Louis County: Sam Pointer, junior, Affton High School (Affton)

Fields recited “The Canonization” by the 17th-century English poet John Donne and works by two contemporary American poets, “The Way It Sometimes Is” by Henry Taylor and “Sestina: Like” by A.E. Stallings. Poetry Out Loud, administered in partnership with the state arts agencies of all 50 states, was created in 2006 and is funded by the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The program encourages the study of great poetry and helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage by offering educational materials and a recitation competition to high schools across the country. The Missouri Arts Council and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education have partnered to bring Poetry Out Loud to Missouri. (Photo: 1st Row, left to right: Ali Walker, Reagan Kapp, First Lady Georganne Wheeler Nixon, First Runner-Up Sara Ashbaugh, Alex Hall. 2nd Row, left to right: Enoch Bradshaw, Missouri State Poet Laureate William Trowbridge, Missouri State Champion Thomas Fields, Missouri Department of Economic Development Director Mike Downing, Kyle McDonald, Alyssa Moncure. Not pictured: Essence Imani Lee & Sam Pointer) Read more...

Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator Announces its First 10 Companies
The Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator in Kansas City officially kicked off its program recently by welcoming its first 10 startup tech companies. Led by Boulder, Colo.-based Techstars, the three-month program will feature a variety of health technology groups from around the country as well as one company from Australia. The participating companies aim to address wellness, chronic illness, animal and other health challenges through tech solutions including hardware, transformative services, software platforms, big data and mobile applications. Sprint and the Techstars team filtered through hundreds of applications from around the world before selecting the top 10 companies. “It’s an amazing class – it was a very competitive selection process,” commented John Fein, the accelerator’s managing director. “These teams went through a rigorous selection process that involved multiple phone, video and in-person interviews. So those that made the cut, those top 10, are really the cream of the crop. They’re amazing teams.” Each startup will have access to more than 80 mentors throughout the accelerator, and can receive up to $120,000 in funding.  Read more...
Missouri Main Street Revitalization Grants Available
Matching grants for revitalization training are currently available to communities in Missouri for launching new downtown revitalization programs. The grants, as well as training, are provided by Missouri Main Street Connection, Inc. A workshop for preparation of the grant application will be conducted on March 25 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Albany Community Center in Albany, Mo. To attend this workshop, please click here to access the registration form. 

1 Million Cups Program Receives Praise from the New York Times
A recent article in the New York Times highlighted 1 Million Cups, the two-year-old entrepreneurial support system administered by the Kauffman Laboratories for Enterprise Creation, an affiliate of the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City. The first 1 Million Cups meeting was held in April 2012 in Kansas City, and has since grown to now operate in 30 midsize and small American cities, with entrepreneurs in about a hundred cities expressing interest in starting a chapter. “We can’t keep up with the demand,” said Cameron Cushman, a manager in entrepreneurship at Kauffman, who, together with Nate Olson, a specialist in entrepreneurship at Kauffman, thought up the program. The article also noted that 1 Million Cups has been part of a serendipitous series of events that has revitalized the Kansas City startup community, including the announcement that Google Fiber would be coming to Kansas City six months after 1 Million Cups’ debut, and the opening of several startup communities and homes, including the Kansas City Startup Village, Homes for Hackers, and Feld’s KC Fiber House Competition. Read more...

Computer Programming Languages in High Demand In Missouri    
Information Technology occupations are some of the most in-demand jobs in Missouri. In 2012, Occupation Employment Statistics show that over 74,000 people were employed in computer programming, developing, and support fields. Over the past year, 34,870 on-line job ads for selected information technology occupations were placed in Missouri and show that specific computer languages are highly valued. The majority of job ads requested applicants be proficient in various computer programming languages, with database skills in SQL and Oracle topping the list. Read more...

Missouri Women are Significant to Missouri’s Workforce
Missouri’s women continue to be a significant part of the state’s workforce. More than 1.4 million women, nearly 48 percent, are in the workforce. This report looks at the role of women in Missouri’s workplaces based on occupations found to be traditionally female-oriented versus those deemed more male-oriented by using Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census data. Some of the more female-oriented occupations include the health care and education sectors. Read more...

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Missouri Earns National Recognition for Reverse Transfer Program
The Missouri Reverse Transfer Program has received national recognition from the Lumina Foundation, an organization that works to increase the number of Americans with high-quality degrees and professional certificates. The reverse transfer program is a statewide initiative that helps more students earn an associate degree. It targets students who have earned a significant number of college credits but have not received an associate or bachelor degree. “Through the reverse transfer program, Missouri’s two-year and four-year institutions are working to improve college completion rates in the state and award students the degrees they have earned,” said David Russell, Missouri commissioner of higher education. “These degrees can help open the doors to more career opportunities, higher paying jobs and a better quality of life.” The program is currently being piloted at 11 colleges and universities throughout the state. The pilot program ends in June and plans are being made to expand the program to all Missouri public two- and four-year institutions as well as select private colleges in Missouri this fall. Read more...

Missouri Madness Month
As we head into the collegiate championship basketball tournament, the Missouri Department of Economic Development is celebrating Missouri Madness Month by highlighting entrepreneurs and businesses making big plays in Missouri. From high-tech startups like LockerDome in St. Louis, to chocolatiers like Askinosie Chocolate in Springfield, to successful Missouri-grown businesses like Brewer Science, entrepreneurs have great things to say about Missouri’s business climate. The Show-Me State has recently earned recognition for developing a culture that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship. An analysis by of Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed Missouri was the fastest growing state in regards to tech job growth. Cultivation Capital in St. Louis recently was ranked one of the top 15 best business accelerator programs in the nation by TechCrunch. Under 30 CEO ranked Kansas City and St. Louis among the top 10 medium-sized cities for young entrepreneurs, while Columbia ranked among the top 10 small-sized cities. Hear why so many entrepreneurs speak highly of Missouri’s entrepreneurial spirit. Read more...

(Click on the image above to hear what Gabe Lozano, CEO of LockerDome in St. Louis, loves about living and working in Missouri.)

Want an MBA and Then a Job? Try Washington University
Washington University in St. Louis’s Olin School of Business MBA program was recently ranked as the 4th best MBA program that led to a job by U.S. News and World Report. Ninety-six percent of graduates from the Washington University program find jobs within three months of graduation - that’s considerably higher than the national average of 82 percent. The study surveyed 453 schools and collected a wide variety of data on the makeup of each school’s student body. Nationally, MBA graduates tend to earn higher starting salaries than other American master’s graduates. The median base salary for an MBA graduate is $95,000 - up from $90,000 in 2012, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council. University of Albany-SUNY had the highest job placement rate with 100 percent of students finding employment within three months of graduation. Read more...

SLCC’s WorkKeys Solution Center Completes 10,000 WorkKeys Assessments in Three Years
The WorkKeys Solution Center, a service provided by St. Louis Community College’s Workforce Solutions Group, has completed 10,000 assessments in the last three years for training programs and many different industries such as aerospace, automotive, biotechnology, healthcare, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and service industries. The WorkKeys Solution Center, located at the Corporate College, provides services such as:

• Conducts on-site assessments of potential applicants for employment or of incumbents for new positions.
• Provides ACT authorized profilers on staff who perform job skill and task analysis of key positions.
• Assists companies in utilizing job analysis results to identify skill gaps, develop curriculum, or in hiring.
• Consults with area companies on curriculum profiles benchmarked to WorkKeys levels.
• Offers technical assistance in the use of occupational profiles.
• Issues the National Career Readiness Certificate and WorkKeys assessments to individuals.

ACT WorkKeys is a job skills assessment system that helps employers select, hire, train, develop, and retain a high-performance workforce. This series of tests measures foundational and soft skills and offers specialized assessments to target institutional needs. The Corporate College, the newest addition to St. Louis Community College’s growing network of facilities and programs bringing demand-driven workforce training to the region, is the first facility solely dedicated to corporate education and professional development, unlike any other asset the college owns. The Workforce Solutions Group, centrally located at the Corporate College, leverages education for growth in the knowledge economy by offering programs and services designed to advance people, businesses, and communities. The Workforce Solutions Group accomplishes this through its three operating units - Corporate Services, Continuing Education and Community Services. Read more... 

Join the Conversation for Change on Social Media Accessibility
The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy and the National Council on Disability invite the public to participate in a virtual town hall dialogue, "Advancing Accessibility and Inclusion in Social Media — The User Experience," which will examine the accessibility barriers of social media for individuals with disabilities, including jobseekers and workers. This crowdsourcing event began on Monday, March 31 and will continue until Friday, April 4. It will be the first in a series of three social media accessibility online events taking place over the next three months. "Social media is transforming how we engage with customers, employees, jobseekers and other stakeholders," said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. "But when social media is inaccessible to people with disabilities, it excludes a sizeable segment of our population. This online dialogue will help us pinpoint social media accessibility barriers, and discover new solutions for ensuring these digital services can be used and optimized by everyone." The conversation will explore the value of social media in the lives of people with disabilities, particularly around work, and identify accessibility issues and creative approaches to making social media tools more accessible and usable. Participants will be able to discuss their social media experiences and submit ideas, comments and vote on potential solutions. The information gathered from this dialogue will then help NCD and ODEP further collaborate with the social media industry to implement solutions. The national dialogue is being coordinated under ODEP's ePolicyWorks initiative. To register, please click here. Read more...

Ste. Genevieve Manufacturer Teams up with Rawlings for New Line of American-Made Bags
Eric Scott, a small factory in Ste. Genevieve, has been quietly making checkbook covers and motorcycle saddle bags for years. However, when Tony Spielberg, the leader of the Chesterfield-based Red Label Accessories, a producer of bags and wallets sold under the Rawlings brand name, began looking for a domestic manufacturer to make a line of high-end men’s duffel bags and briefcases, he discovered the small manufacturing company in Missouri. Now, the American Hand/Crafted by Rawlings line of leather accessories is set to launch in a handful of stores this May, followed by a larger rollout slated for fall, with all products manufactured right here in Missouri. Lord & Taylor is among the retailers that have already signed on to carry the line. Eric Scott officials noted that the company has hired about 20 more people in the last year to bring its total workforce to about 115, and recently began working with a consultant that is in the process of putting together a training program for the factory’s workers to update their leather-sewing skills. Read more...

Looking for an Affordable Place to Live? Try St. Louis
A recent report by Forbes magazine pinpointed the 20 most affordable places to live out of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. According to the magazine, using an index of housing affordability and other cost-of-living factors, St. Louis is the 13th most affordable place to live in the country. Forbes noted that Midwest cities dominated the top 20 list, with 11 metro areas making the list. Buffalo, N.Y. was considered the nation’s most affordable city, while New York and Honolulu tied for the most expensive.  Read more...

St. Louis Entrepreneurs Coach Startups to SXSW Championship
Several of the successful student-run startups that received recognition at the recent South by Southwest Interactive festival, which took place March 7-11 in Austin, Texas, were mentored by St. Louis-area coaches. The mentorships were facilitated through a partnership between the festival’s Student Startup Madness, a March Madness-like tournament for startups founded by college students, and Saint Louis University. Tim Hayden, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the John Cook School of Business, noted that SLU served as the Midwest host for the tournament before its culmination at SXSW, and was asked to assign mentors to the final eight student teams. Four St. Louis entrepreneurs – Capital Innovators Executive Director Judy Sindecuse; ex-Disney CTO Bud Albers; Ron Roy, founder of Wines that Rock; and Derek Weber, president of goBrandgo – were chosen to mentor the companies. Notefuly, a student startup from Seton Hall that was mentored by Weber, was the ultimate winner of the competition, receiving $50,000 in credits for Google’s cloud platform. Read more...      

FIRST Championship Coming Soon to St. Louis
On April 23-26, the FIRST Championship will be held at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. Founded in 1989, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) strives to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people by hosting several technology-based competitions for students. The FIRST Championship is an annual culmination of the season’s FIRST programs, bringing together three separate robotics competitions and competitors from all over the United States and the world. The event includes FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Championship, the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) World Championship, and the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) World Festival. The high-tech spectator event combines the excitement of sports with science and technology. This April will mark the 4th time the Championships have been held in St. Louis, and the competition will continue to be hosted by the city through 2017. Read more...

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Missouri to Attend Two Trade Shows in April
The state of Missouri will be exhibiting at two trade shows next month. The first show is Food & Hotel Asia, and will take place in Singapore, Singapore on April 8-11, 2014. This show will explore several trade opportunities in Asia, including the food, drink, hotel, restaurant, foodservice, bakery, and supermarket industries. The second show, which will take place in Shanghai, China on April 24-26, is BioTech China. This show, one of the most influential in China, focuses on the biotech industry as well as its relevant instruments and equipment market. Companies participating in these trade shows will receive many benefits, including exposure in the Missouri booth, networking opportunities, ground transportation and logistics assistance, market research, and one-on-one company meetings. 

United States Exports Reach $2.3 Trillion, Support 11.3 Million Jobs in 2013
According to data recently released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the U.S. Commerce Department, the United States has set another annual record for the fourth consecutive year by exporting $2.3 trillion in goods and services in 2013. In December 2013 alone, the U.S. exported $191.3 billion in goods and services. Additionally, the Department of Commerce found that in 2013, U.S. exports supported more than 11.3 million jobs. This number is up by 1.6 million jobs since 2009, and confirms that exports now support more jobs than any time in the past 20 years. Goods exports supported 7.1 million jobs, up 1.1 million from 2009, while services exports supported 4.2 million jobs, a record for the noted 20-year period. Overall, every $1 billion of U.S. exports in 2013 supported nearly 5,600 jobs.

Global News
Missouri Partnership Marketing Events
Schedule of Missouri Partnership Marketing Events 
March 24, 2014
Central Exchange Spring 2014 Open House
Kansas City, MO 
March 25, 2014
Missouri Main Street Affiliate Grant Workshop
Albany, MO 
March 26-27, 2014
InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum
St. Louis, MO 
April 7-11, 2014

Grantsmanship Training Program
Nevada, MO 

April 8-11, 2014
Food & Hotel Asia Trade Show
Singapore, Singapore
April 18, 2014
Missouri Building Entrepreneurial Capacity (MOBEC) Program Application Deadline
April 18, 2014
Missouri TechLaunch Program Application Deadline
April 24-26, 2014
BioTech China 2014 Trade Show
Shanghai, China 
April 30, 2014
2014 Missouri City/County Management Association (MCMA) Spring Conference
Lake Ozark, MO 
May 1-2, 2014
2014 Nonprofit Missouri Annual Conference
May 5-9, 2014
Small Business Week of Eastern Missouri
May 13-16, 2014
Seoul Food & Hotel Trade Show
Seoul, Republic of Korea 
May 20-22, 2014
CPhI Southeast Asia Trade Show
Jakarta, Indonesia
June 2-6, 2014
Missouri Agribusiness Academy
Northwestern and Jefferson City, MO 
July 14-18, 2014
2014 Farnborough Air & Trade Show
London, England 
August 25, 2014
KC Animal Health Corridor Homecoming
Kansas City, MO 
Missouri Focus
March 14, 2014
Missouri Focus
March 7, 2014
Missouri Focus
February 28, 2014
Missouri Focus
February 21, 2014

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Please contact:

Jamie Volkart
(573) 522-1593

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Missouri Department of Economic Development

P.O. Box 118, Jefferson City, MO 65102

Phone: (573) 751-4962 FAX: (573) 751-7384

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