New Jobs Coming to Region 8; Boost for the Economy

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) -- In a time of bad news about the economy one Region 8 town is announcing new jobs for the area.  Rob Wallace said he's been unemployed since last October and is at the unemployment office looking for a new job.

"For the past several months I've been trying to find a job off and on," said Wallace.

Now a new company is announcing it is coming to town.  Axis, a partnership between American Railcar and Amsted Incorporated will build a 135,000 square foot facility and employ 40 to 50 people.

"There's going to be more jobs and more availability for people to find jobs, without having to worry about it not having to worry about feeding the kids," said Wallace.

"For the last 13 years we have grown 135 new jobs a year, every year," said Director of New Car Building for ARI Jack Pipkin.

The new plant will make axles for the railcars and part of the product they make will be shipped to other parts of the world.

"These are very high skilled jobs we're going to be putting in a completely automated facility.  There's none like it in the world," said Jim Cowan, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for ARI.

The system that will be installed will require a good workforce which is something ARI believes Paragould has to offer and that's why they keep coming back.

"We find people that take a lot of pride in what they do.  They're not afraid of a little bit of hard work and those kind of folks we love to have in our workforce," said Cowan.

"Everybody that works for us now has a full time job, so the only way we can expand and grow and build more cars is to hire new people," said Pipkin.

Pipkin said they are currently hiring 150 new employees for the Marmaduke ARI facility.

The new $75 million dollar Axis facility is expected to be completed by late summer of 2008.