AT&T jobs, SkyWest flights are positives for economy

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Some exciting business developments are taking place on the local scene, which are a boost to the economy.

AT&T announced last week it is opening a call center in Cape Girardeau that will hire 150 full-time employees; half of the personnel the company plans to hire in Missouri.

The increased workforce is a product of higher demand for applications and services supported by high-speed networks, asserts state Rep. Kathy Swan. "AT&T's investment in Missouri is helping stimulate job opportunities for our residents and economic growth for our state," Swan said.

Southeast Missouri also is expected to receive an additional boost with hirings in Sikeston.

The 300 people to be hired statewide is in addition to the 230 hired this year by the company and follows an investment of nearly $1.8 billion in wired and wireless networks in Missouri from 2014 to 2016. That investment included a fiber-optic cable laid along I-55 from Jackson to Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, being termed a "fiber corridor" and allowing for 1-gigabyte service and the increased demand.

The company plans a recruiting event for call-center positions in Cape Girardeau from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Osage Centre in Cape Girardeau.

In another development, air travel between Cape Girardeau and Chicago is expected to begin in December. The U.S. Department of Transportation approved SkyWest Airlines' plan to provide 12 weekly round-trip tickets between Cape Girardeau Regional Airport and Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

"We are excited to welcome SkyWest to Cape Girardeau," said Cape Girardeau Regional Airport manager Bruce Loy,

We're excited, too. We believe flights to Chicago will be a big attraction, turning a potential six-hour drive to the largest city in the Midwest and the country's third-largest city into a one-hour flight. From O'Hare, Chicago's vast subway system can be accessed. Furthermore, Skywest will be fully integrated with three major airlines -- American, Delta and United -- to allow for seamless transfers to other destinations.

Chicago is also one of the most important business centers in the world, and having a direct line with the city could open doors and have positive implications for the local economy.

Cape Air has provided convenient travel to St. Louis and beyond for several years and will continue so until December. They've been a good partner in the community and we wish them well.

Meanwhile, St. Louis remains accessible for those needing rides, including via BART.

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