City Notes: Cambrex growth spotlights county manufacturing

Tim Fox
Tim Fox
By Tim Fox, Executive Director, Charles City Area Development Corp.

Many thanks and congratulations go to Cambrex Charles City Inc. for its most recent investment in Floyd County.

Its application for assistance was approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority Aug. 18, signifying that the state also has confidence in this well-managed company.

This $27 million expansion is one of a series of expansions for Cambrex over the past several years. We are gratified when companies see fit to invest in our communities.

One point that should be made is the wage threshold for the project. The Iowa Economic Development Authority said there would be creation of 29 jobs exceeding a wage of $16.85 an hour.

This does not mean that the jobs pay $16.85; rather, that $16.85 per hour is the 100 percent wage within the Charles City laborshed. That is, the average wage in the laborshed is $16.85. A “laborshed” is the area from which an employment center draws commuting workers regardless of political boundaries.

As you may well imagine, the wages for the latest Cambrex project are significantly higher than $16.85 per hour.

Cambrex has been a leader in payroll, helping Floyd County be the third highest average weekly manufacturing wage county in Iowa in First Quarter 2017. The average weekly wage for Floyd County was $1,344 per week; the state average was $1,117. Only Linn County at $1,707 per week and Muscatine at $1,373 had higher average weekly wages than Floyd County.

On personal and professional levels I must state how enjoyable it is to work with the team at Cambrex. They are universally professional, well prepared, candid and responsive.

Theirs is a great success story and I am extraordinarily proud to have the opportunity to work with Cambrex Charles City Inc.

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News such as the Cambrex expansion begs the question: “Why not manufacturing?” The wages in Floyd County are solid. The working conditions are for the most part not dirty or dusty or gritty. Furthermore, there is usually opportunity for advancement.

I encourage those looking to improve their skills to consider taking classes at North Iowa Area Community College. NIACC has many programs which offer entrance into the manufacturing setting.

If you are serious about a career in manufacturing, come see me. I will help you with your résumé, coach you on interviewing and see that you take the National Career Readiness Certificate to gauge your aptitude. I may be reached at 641-228-3020.