By KCAL9’s Greg Mills

VICTORVILLE (CBS) — The Inland Empire has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, but efforts to attract new businesses and jobs to the high desert could soon start to help.

Southern California Logistics Airport, located on the grounds of the former George Air Force Base, is successfully luring companies and jobs to the high desert.

“We’ll add over 500 jobs here in the city of Victorville in the next two to three years alone,” said Anita Tuckerman of Stirling Development, an Orange County company working with the city to bring manufacturers to the area.

“In the last 12 months we’ve been very successful. We’ve done over 10 leases,” Tuckerman said.

Initially the area appealed to the aerospace industry.

“Now we’ve shifted and are having successes in the manufacturing and logistics,” Tuckerman said.

Warehouses are now being built for companies interested in establishing manufacturing or distribution hubs in an area where land is cheap and the labor pool deep.

Mars M&M is one such company, recently moving its distribution center with 70 employees to a massive warehouse in the area.

This year has seen a significant number of new leases and new jobs at SCLA and 2012 looks just as promising. One company alone, a Mississippi-based furniture manufacturer, hopes to have as many as 400 employees hired by the end of 2012.

They will be opening their manufacturing/distribution center next month.


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