Boeing has been on the minds of the Show-Me State's political figures lately, thanks to the effort to lure the manufacturing of the 777X airplane to Missouri. Now, the company is planning to bring several hundred research and development jobs to the St. Louis region.
The Chicago-based aerospace giant announced on Thursday that three of Boeing's research centers would be moving to the company's north St. Louis County campus. Boeing spokesman Daryl Stephenson said that the centers would focus on researching systems technologies; digital aviation and support technology; and mechanics and fabrication development.
With the addition of those three centers, Stephenson said, the company’s St. Louis County campus would grow by about 300 to 400 people. Stephenson emphasized these would be new positions. Although, he added, Boeing employees in Washington State and California could apply for them.
St. Louis is Boeing's headquarters for defense-related products and the company already employs about 15,000 people. Stephenson said the research center would focus on defense and commercial products.
And, he said, the jobs mean St. Louis will have “very significant” role to play in the company's future.
“It does mean that St. Louis is a significant center for research and development for the future of the Boeing Company,” Stephenson said. “The capabilities here are very pivotal to future of Boeing.”
Stephenson said that some state-based incentives will be used for the additional jobs, but he did not elaborate. He said the research jobs are on top of the 400 information technology positions announced earlier this year that are slated to come to St. Louis area.
Boeing's announcement sparked a flood of praise from some of Missouri’s political leaders.
- Gov. Jay Nixon said in a statement that the jobs are “a sign that Missouri continues to attract high-tech jobs in high-demand fields.”
- U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said the announcement “is just a further reminder that St. Louis is a growing and vibrant area.”
- And U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, said in a statement that he was “extremely pleased” by the news.”
Boeing's Stephenson said the announcement is unrelated to Missouri's pursuit of the 777X civilian aircraft.
The push to build that aircraft in Missouri has yielded in recent weeks massive state and local incentive packages. The opportunity to bid on making the plane in the St. Louis area became possible in November after a Washington State-based machinists union rejected a contract from Boeing.
A number of other states are vying to produce 777X. And yesterday the Seattle Times reported that the union is once again in talks with Boeing. But the paper reported on Thursday evening that talks between the two sides had collapsed.