Our opinion Millions secure good jobs

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Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013 11:45 pm | Updated: 3:01 pm, Mon Feb 11, 2013.

Any way you look at it, $600 million in new business investment is a huge sum. And for it to have a direct impact on the Midland Empire — well, that's something to both celebrate and savor.

Last month’s good news for the Kansas City metro area is our good news, as well. A rebounding General Motors Corp. will pour hundreds of millions of dollars into its Fairfax Assembly and Stamping Plant in Kansas City, Kan.

The planned 450,000-square-foot paint shop, a new stamping press and other improvements are in addition to $2 billion in GM investments at Fairfax over the last decade.

And everything at Fairfax is in addition to $1.1 billion that GM competitor Ford Motor Co. is investing across town in its Claycomo, Mo., plant.

We understand future economic growth in St. Joseph and the surrounding region is heavily dependent on supporting existing local businesses and nurturing smaller, entrepreneurial enterprises. But no one should discount the impact of large players in our midst or within commuting range.

This is why our business and civic leaders are right to pay particular attention to matters that affect our largest industrial employers — among them Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Altec Industries, Triumph Foods, Johnson Controls and Hillshire Brands.

Each of these businesses has thrived, and is thriving now, because of capital investments made over time in the belief that this community and region will support them, and that able and skilled workers can be found locally and nearby.

Now General Motors is casting a similar vote of confidence — not only in its business, but also in the region and its workforce.

One result is a number of smaller regional firms catering to the auto industry will prosper. The same is true for our regional communities, from Chillicothe, Mo., to Atchison, Kan., and beyond, where workers live and pay taxes.

And, of course, there are the workers themselves — at least hundreds who today see a more secure future for themselves and their families.

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