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Political leaders help launch Centene facility in Ferguson

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FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - Missouri political leaders are lauding a new Centene Corp. service center in Ferguson, creating 250 new jobs in the Missouri town where the shortage of opportunities for black residents became a focal point after the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown.

Gov. Jay Nixon, Sens. Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt, and other political and business leaders were among the guests Friday at a ceremony marking the new 45,000-square-foot center. Most of the workers are from Ferguson or nearby.

Employees there will process claims for Missouri and overflow from other states.

Centene, based in St. Louis, announced plans for the service center weeks after Brown was fatally shot by a white Ferguson officer on Aug. 9, 2014, setting off months of protests.