Centene CEO calls Sacramento 'natural fit' for headquarters that will employ thousands
Centene Corp. executives came to Sacramento Thursday to dedicate the cornerstone of the company’s West Coast headquarters, which recently started construction near Sleep Train Arena in North Natomas.
The Fortune 100 company, based in St. Louis, already employs 3,000 people in the Sacramento area, and has pledged to add at least 2,000 new jobs. Centene, whose presence in California greatly increased when it bought Health Net in 2016, provides insurance through the private market and government-sponsored health care programs, including California Covered.
“California is an engine of commerce, and this state-of-the-art corporate campus is a natural fit for the fastest-growing major city in California,” said company CEO Michael F. Neidorff.
Scores of Sacramento business leaders and elected officials attended the ceremony, which was held in a heated, transparent tent while construction equipment continued to work just outside. The first phase of construction on the 68-acre campus is scheduled to finish in late summer of 2020, with the first employees moving in during the fall.
Eventually, up to 5,000 people could work at the North Natomas site, Centene said.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who helped negotiate the agreement to bring Centene to town, said the company’s arrival represents the wise use of public incentives. The city agreed to pay Centene $9,000 per net new full-time job for up to 1,500 jobs, provided that the jobs paid an average of at least 125 percent of the Sacramento County average, or $64,078.
“Our agreement is a model for private-public partnerships in the state,” Mayor Steinberg said. “We offered an incentive not for developing office space. Instead, we said, you bring thousands of new jobs to our city, and we’ll use our Innovation and Growth Fund to help you grow those jobs.
“Our agreement sets a high standard. The majority of those jobs must pay above the county average. Building a high-wage jobs base in our city is paramount. Our incentives also encourage Centene to hire people from our disadvantaged neighborhoods, a key piece of our equity agenda in Sacramento.”