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Why is Kansas City a Great Place for Manufacturing?
Central location and transportation
Kansas City is the most geo-central city in the nation and offers a multimodal transportation network that supports efficient, cost-effective distribution. Key advantages include:
- The largest rail center in the United States by tonnage, at the center of a rail corridor spanning coast-to-coast across the U.S. and extending from Canada to Mexico (NAFTA Railway).
- More Foreign Trade Zone space than any other U.S. city (over 10,000 acres).
- Direct access to three of the nation’s major interstate highways (I-35, I-70, I-29) and soon to be fourth (I-49).
- No. 3 trucking center in the U.S. with single-day truck access to nearly every major Midwestern market.
Manufacturers in Kansas City, Missouri, have access to a metro-wide workforce of more than 1 million, and area workers bring a strong Midwestern work ethic to their jobs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, production workers in Kansas City contribute 40% more value added per hour than the national average. And according to the National Center for Health Statistics, Kansas City workers took fewer sick days than workers in 33 major metros, and placed third for overall health of residents.
90% of area residents are high school graduates, and Kansas City, Missouri, has a strong community college system that prepares many workers for manufacturing careers and advancement. In addition, Kansas City is looking to the future by investing in the 21st century workforce. Industry leaders, education and training providers, and the public workforce system are working together to assess critical hiring needs and the core competencies necessary to fill open positions in manufacturing. This has resulted in a number of leading-edge education and training programs specifically designed to meet industry’s most pressing needs, including:
- AIM-KC – The Kansas City region was selected by the National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Institute to pilot a grassroots national campaign aimed at attracting young people into manufacturing jobs and expanding education and training opportunities to meet a growing shortage of skilled employees. The Alliance for Innovation in Manufacturing-Kansas City (AIM-KC) was created as the local partner for this effort.
- Dream It. Do It. – Provides tools and resources for young adults to help them identify what they are passionate about and then utilize this information to find a fulfilling career in manufacturing.
- Project Lead the Way – Kansas City is part of network of more than 3,000 schools in the U.S. working to prepare students to be successful in engineering and advanced manufacturing programs. 4,300 high schools students in the Kansas City region participated in this program in 2008-2009.
Lower Overall Costs
- Kansas City offers lower costs than most major metro areas and is consistently ranked among most affordable major markets in which to live and operate a business.
- The area also offers an affordable electric supply, generated through a combination of traditional energy sources and sustainable resources such as wind power.
- Some manufacturers are eligible for discretionary programs to reduce or eliminate sales and property tax on machinery and equipment.
Sample of Local Manufacturing Companies
- Automatic Systems, Inc. – industrial conveyers and material handling systems (HQ)
- BlueScope Steel – pre-engineered buildings (HQ)
- Bratton Corp. – structural steel
- Delden Manufacturing Co. – windows and doors
- Haldex Brake Products Corp. (HQ)
- Harley-Davidson Motor Co.
- Honeywell Federal Manufacturing and Technologies (HQ)
- Johnson Controls Inc. – automobile interiors
- Labconco Corp. (HQ) – laboratory equipment
- May Technology & Mfg, Inc. (HQ) – machining and tooling for multiple industries
- Milbank Manufacturing Co., Inc. – electrical meter mounting equipment
- Smith Electric Vehicles (HQ) – no-emission electric vehicles
- Themec Co., Inc. (HQ) – industrial coatings
- Zahner (HQ) – architectural metal engineering and fabrication
Food and Beverage:
- American Italian Pasta Co.
- Cooks Ham
- Farmland Foods (HQ)
- General Mills, Inc.
- Hostess Brands, Inc.
- Pepsi Beverages Company
- Roberts Dairy, Inc.
- Russell Stover Candies, Inc. (HQ)
Paper Products and Printing:
- Aspen Products
- Barton Nelson, Inc.
- Data Source, Inc. (HQ)
- Gateway Packaging Co.
- Hallmark Cards, Inc. (HQ)
- International Paper
- K & K Company, LLC
- Kansas City Star Co. (HQ)
- Lifetouch Publishing, Inc.
- Posty Cards (HQ)
- Tension Envelope Corp. (HQ)
- Trabon Printing Co.
- Universal Manufacturing Co. (HQ)
- Spotlight on Ed Ford, City Councilman and EDC Board MemberBy EDCKC Staff on May 16, 2013