Missouri Minute: New broadband funding rule could favor rural areas; farmers look to profit off of carbon

Hello, MBA readers,

As more elements of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 relief package are rolled out, states and agencies find themselves navigating the legislation’s nuances. One of them involves funding for broadband. The White House made it a goal to expand high-speed internet access and backed that up by devoting $350 billion to the effort. But the threshold for qualifying for that funding makes it difficult for cities and urban areas to tap into, they say. Plus, AMC Entertainment was hit particularly hard in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, shuttering theaters and teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Now, as the Leawood, Kansas-based cinema chain works to win back customers who have turned to streaming services, it has enlisted the services of another area company. AMC has undertaken a $25 million multimedia marketing campaign with the help of Kansas City agency Barkley. The campaign features Nicole Kidman and promotes a new slogan: “AMC Theatres. We make movies better.”

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New broadband funding rule could favor rural areas
Cities and urban areas are voicing concern that a new rule for distributing $350 billion in federal funding for broadband expansion could leave them out. (Associated Press)

Farmers look to profit off of carbon
Some Missouri farmers are joining a study looking into the effects of carbon sequestration that could lead to the development of a carbon credit market. (St. Louis Public Radio)

UMSL to disperse pandemic aid to students
The University of Missouri-St. Louis will distribute $10.8 million in federal funding to students facing financial difficulties. (St. Louis Business Journal)

CEO resigns amid backlash over ties to anti-mask group
Overland Park, Kansas-based Krucial Staffing has supplied health care workers across the country during the pandemic to help deal with emergencies. The company’s CEO, Brian Cleary, has resigned after it was revealed he had ties with an anti-masking group. (Kansas City Star)

MSU, Missouri S&T form joint research space
Missouri State University and the Missouri University of Science and Technology have partnered to form a new engineering space in downtown Springfield. (Springfield Business Journal)

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Employers across the country are having difficulty attracting workers, with U.S. job openings reaching 10.9 million in July, a record high. In the short run, Missouri economists say, businesses can adapt to the current market by reducing or modifying services. But over the long-term, those same economists say, businesses that cannot attract workers and have narrow profit margins will struggle.

Say that again

“We’ve tried, we’ve done all we can, and a little bigger hammer is not a bad thing.”

That’s Thom Kuhn, president of St. Charles-based construction company Millstone Weber, reacting to the Biden administration’s new COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The order compels all companies with more than 100 workers to require that employees get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. The mandate is drawing mixed reactions from construction businesses in the St. Louis area, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Some, like Kuhn, welcome the added weight of a federal mandate. But vaccination can be a tough sell in the construction business: Surveys revealed workers in the industry had lower rates of vaccination and higher rates of hesitancy than employees in any other sector.

Go figure

30 minutes

That’s how little time some applicants may have to wait to learn if they have been hired by United Parcel Service, the company said. The logistics company said it plans to hire around 2,600 seasonal workers in the St. Louis region for the fall as part of a nationwide attempt to add more than 100,000 workers, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The high demand, coupled with a nationwide labor shortage, is the catalyst for the quick hiring time. UPS says about 138,000 of its employees — or about a third of its current workforce — were originally hired as seasonal additions. The company’s website lists part-time, entry-level jobs in the St. Louis area with pay rates of up to $20 per hour.

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This Kansas City-based marketing agency ranked No. 787 on this year’s Inc. 5000, a list of the country’s fastest-growing companies, with three-year revenue growth topping 600%. Now, CrowdPharm is growing through an acquisition. The company is purchasing Arizona-based Cross & Wild, another agency specializing in marketing for the health care sector, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. Prior to the deal, both companies worked closely together, with Mike Myers founding Cross & Wild and co-founding CrowdPharm with Steve Bernstein, CEO of Kansas City advertising agency Bernstein-Rein. CrowdPharm will keep its name and maintain its Kansas City headquarters. Myers and Bernstein will be 50/50 partners.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.


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