Workforce Development Roundup: Amazon expands in Arizona, Montana welcomes international tech office, Wyoming amplifies aerospace opportunities

The Chairman’s Initiative of South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard is leveraging the region’s best thinking to bridge the gap between prospective workers and employers in the West. In addition to hosting workshops and webinars, WGA provides periodic updates on workforce development in western states. 

Construction on an Alaska gas line is expected to create more than 18,000 new jobs over six years. Heavy equipment operators, pipefitters, welders, engineers, truck drivers and more will be hired to support the $43 billion project

Amazon announced plans to expand in Arizona, creating 1,500 jobs at a new fulfillment center in Tucson. The company already employs 7,000 full-time associates at four other state locations.

An Israeli tech company announced plans to open an office and hire 100 tech workers in Missoula, Montana. “In our search for a U.S. base, we were particularly impressed with the enthusiasm, responsiveness and cooperation we received from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development,” said the CEO of 4Cast. 

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin helped unveil a new fabrication complex for commercial and military aircraft parts. Spirit AeroSystems relocated machines from Mexico to McAlester to expand operations and hire workers from the local community. “Spirit AeroSystems knows that Oklahoma has a skilled, educated workforce, which is very important,” said Gov. Fallin.

Internships and industry partnerships are helping more South Dakota students find local jobs after graduation, rather than moving out of state. Business and schools are recruiting new employees and developing the talent pipeline by offering more hands-on training.

Rural counties in Utah are diversifying their economies in response to Gov. Gary Herbert’s charge to create 25,000 jobs across 25 rural counties. By building on their existing strengths, rural communities are investing in outdoor recreation and technology, such as electric batteries for the aerospace industry.

Bringing more work to existing companies through government contracts, rather than convincing new businesses to relocate, is a strategy being employed by Casper’s economic development agency in Wyoming. Focusing on aerospace, eight companies are participating in a campaign to feature the state’s high-tech machinery and robotic equipment capabilities. 


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