PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - An aviation company may be taking what could be local jobs overseas. The president says he wants to bring the jobs to Southwest Florida, but isn't getting any support.
With unemployment over 13% in Charlotte County, J. Phil McCoy, President of Light Sport America, was certain his plan to bring 100 new jobs was clear for take off. "They would be skilled and semi-skilled jobs, assemblers and aircraft mechanics," McCoy said. "We've already made arrangements with the training school to come in and teach our employees whatever they need to learn to do their jobs."
Pay would start at $15 an hour and with $3 million, McCoy says in 3 years, he could turn 3 vacant hangars at the Charlotte County Airport into opportunity. He asked County Economic Development for grant money, which referred him to the Governor's Office. After presenting the proposal, "We didn't even get the courtesy of a return call saying 'no thanks,'" McCoy said.
With another country vying for the jobs, McCoy says he may have no choice but to take them there. "We have to consider that and certainly that's not my first choice, but we've had no luck here."
We brought the issue to Commission Chairman Bob Starr. He said that was the first he'd heard of it. "After you gave me the heads up, I went ahead and sent an e-mail to the County Administrator and the Economic Development Coordinator to see if maybe we could reopen the dialogue and see what we could do to get those people to locate here for the jobs," Starr said.
With any project, Starr says there would have to be a return on the investment of taxpayers' dollars. McCoy has no doubt there will be. We'll follow its progress in the coming weeks.