FERGUSON, MO (KTVI) – The Centene Corporation says it’s time for action, not words when it comes to rebuilding Ferguson, and they want to lead the way. Officials announced plans Tuesday to build an insurance claim center in the troubled community which will employ about 200 people.
Company C.E.O. Mike Neidorff says he was among those watching the unrest unfold and immediately thought of plans already being discussed for the new claim center.
“I called my board and it took about five minutes and they said, ‘Great! Go for it.’ So it unfolded fairly quickly and it felt right, it was the right thing to do to show the community we want to support them, have belief in them,” Neidorff told Fox 2 in an interview Tuesday.
The facility will handle insurance claims for the company. They plan to be hiring, and possibly training in a temporary facility by the end of 2014, with the new spot up and operational next year.
As the protests have gone on in Ferguson, the discussion has expanded well beyond the death of Michael Brown, the teenager shot by police in August. Signs are now shown by protestors demanding more jobs for young people in this city where unemployment among young men is pushing 50%.
The Better Family Life organization is among those who have criticized corporate St. Louis for not doing more to help minority job prospects. Their C.E.O., Malik Ahmed, says this is a promising move by Centene.
“It’s a good first step. More corporations need to step in. Certainly that community in Ferguson needs that kind of input,” he said.
But now, he wonders out loud, will others follow?
“It makes other corporations say, ‘What can we do,’ to help solve the problem of high unemployment, especially in the African American community. It also serves notice that young people need to be brought into the civic mainstream of St. Louis society,” Ahmed told us.
Neidorff also hopes to inspire others.
“I just felt like, when I say time for action, that this might start something to give some support to the smaller shops there that are trying to rebuild and say, ‘Hey, people have confidence in this community. Let’s get it right.’”
Centene is looking for three acres of land in Ferguson for the center. They say they’re already looking at property. They also need to find a temporary site hiring and training.