LIBERTY, Mo. -- An auto supplier expansion may be just the beginning of a job creation boom in Clay County. LMV Automotive Systems last week announced expansion plans that will bring 166 new family-supporting jobs to the Northland.
The nearly $50-million investment by LMV is a result of Clay County's strategic initiative to make the area attractive to modern manufacturers.
LMV began producing undercarriages for the new Ford Transit van late last year. It's the type of business economic development leaders hoped for, when they formed a task force four years ago to try to make sure the Claycomo plant would not close. Clay County helped create the Northland Council for Advanced Professional Studies, where high school students learn in real-world business environments, getting an innovative, entrepreneurial education that has value to today's employers.
"What we need to see happen here are companies like Ford, like Cerner, creating economic opportunities in part for their supplier chain so they can bring in LMVs and those sort of folks," said Jerry Nolte, co-chair of the task force. "But also that sort of economic activity generates other activity that is not directly related to that particular industry. here are lots of small businesses that pop up. That's where some economic activity is really going to make an impact."
Clay County also is considering building it's own research center, to test the latest techniques to grow entrepreneurial startup companies. Some folks may say American manufacturing is dying, but Clay County leaders are simply not willing to accept that.
The Missouri Manufacturing and Jobs Act helped jump start the growth is being seen in the Northland. The goal is to bring 5,000 jobs and 50 new companies to Clay County in the next 10 years.