With the effort to lure Boeing’s 777X on the minds of the Show Me State’s political figures, 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 the company’s research centers would be moving to the company's north St. Louis County campus. Boeing spokesman Daryl Stephenson said that centers would focus on researching systems technologies, digital aviation and support technology, and mechanics and fabrication development.
As a result, 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 that Boeing employees in Washington State and California could apply for them.
St. Louis is the 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 means St. Louis will have “very significant” role to play in developing the company.
“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 did not elaborate. He said the research jobs are in addition to the 400 information technology positions that were announced earlier this year to be coming to the 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 field.” 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.”
Stephenson said the announcement is unrelated to the chase for the 777X civilian aircraft.
The desire for that aircraft to be build in Missouri yield in recent weeks massive state and local incentive packages. That bid to lure the aircraft here became possible in November after a Washington State-based machinists union rejected a contract from Boeing.
A number of other states are vying for the 777X production. And the Seattle Times reported yesterday though that the union is once again in talks with Boeing. An agreement between the two could cement 777X production in the Seattle for years to come.