In August 2014, the world focused on the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson as protesters and police violently clashed for days following the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. by a Ferguson police officer. The city’s businesses and residents were besieged by fires, vandalism and riots, and the future of this small community hung in the balance.

Like other St. Louis regional corporate partners, Centene saw the value of supporting Ferguson’s move forward and was among the first to announce a major investment. The Centene Service Center in Ferguson opened in April 2016, bringing 250 new jobs to the community as well as a community education center, internship programs and an early childhood development center.

Reaching young people in Ferguson and surrounding communities became part of Centene’s strategy to help move Ferguson forward.

A partnership was launched with Normandy High School, connecting students from the Ferguson area with a mentor and an internship at the service center. Dr. Charles Pearson, superintendent of schools for the Normandy Schools Collaborative, says the partnership with Centene “is another way to help our students make the connection between what they’re learning in the classroom and how it can have a positive impact on their futures.”

Additionally, Centene partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis to launch Ferguson’s first Boys & Girls Clubs in two of the city’s elementary schools, paving the way for 400 children to enroll in the club’s summer and after-school programs. Centene also partnered with the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis to build a new job training center on the site of the former QuikTrip location that was destroyed during the protests.

Investing in Ferguson

A Centene employee shares her story about how the opening of the Ferguson Service Center positively impacted her life.