Thursday, March 27, 2008

Yet Another Missed Opportunity

According to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the aerospace industry led the state with $1 billion in exports in 2006 and plans to add 5,000 jobs in Arkansas during the next 10 years. These are good-paying jobs that could and should be coming to Fayetteville, but they are going elsewhere.

Two months ago, Remos Aircraft, a Germany-based company, announced that it would be opening its first U. S. assembly facility for propeller-driven sport aircraft at the Rogers Municipal Airport.

Yesterday, Aviation Repair Technologies announced that it will invest $20 million and create about 300 new jobs in Blytheville within three years with an average hourly wage of $20 an hour. Arkansas Northeastern College, a two-year school in Blytheville, will train workers for jobs at Aviation Repair. The average salary of about $42,000 a year is well above the national average of $38,600 and Arkansas’s per capita income of $30,000.

Why are none of these new jobs coming to Fayetteville? With Ray Boudreaux directing the city's efforts for Mayor Dan Coody, Republican businessman Jeff Koenig guiding the Fayetteville Economic Development Council, Kathy Deck cooking the numbers at the UA Center for Business and Economic Research, Phil Stafford of the UA Technology Development Foundation hiring outside consultants, and Bill Ramsey leading the Cowbirds, you would think we might get a few of these good jobs that are going elsewhere?

Talk is cheap, and consultants are expensive. We'd much prefer to see some results. We'd like to see some good jobs created in our community.

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