MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Folks who live in towns with paper mills often deal with an odor that can knock your socks off. But paper mills employ people, so often you’ll hear them say what you think is offensive, they consider “the smell of money.” In Memphis you can see the money down near President's Island.
Work continues on the Mitsubishi and Electrolux factories. More than 1,000 jobs will be available eventually at these companies. In a city where people often face choices between eating and paying their utility bills, the construction of these factories is the sign of the good life.
“From what I saw they’re coming along pretty well,” says Memphis City Councilman Harold Collins. “I was very impressed with their design and the way things are coming together, particularly when you see the cranes and the concrete slabs being put together.”
That’s not all. Bring in a couple of big companies, according to the Memphis Chamber of Commerce, and a lot of smaller companies will normally follow. They would bring even more jobs to a city where a good paying gig is as rare as finding a mojito in the Mohave. Collins says, “We’re hoping that when they complete the big companies, some of their suppliers will be able to move in next to them and keep down the length and service of delivery.”
Memphis can be a tough city to do business with. For the big tax breaks given to Mitsubishi and Electrolux, for the more than thirty five million taxpayer dollars invested, city council members have already pushed hard for local and minority owned companies to get a piece of the construction pie. They will do the same when its time to hire people for the plants.
“Hiring local people is when all the public dollars that we’ve invested start paying off,” says Memphis City Councilman Shea Flinn. “We have to make sure it’s being done.”
Collins says programs should be worked out with places such as Southwest Tennessee Community College and other tech schools, in order that people can get training needed for the jobs. Meanwhile, the construction continues as both factories could open by the end of next year.