• Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

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Michigan adds nearly 600 jobs in auto, EV and semiconductors

Michigan’s global leadership in auto manufacturing and mobility solutions is being boosted with nearly 600 new jobs across the state.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced new projects and business expansions in key industries such as auto manufacturing, electric vehicle testing and the semiconductor supply chain.

The job creation is a result of a bipartisan package that funnels $1 billion of state funds into pots of money for attracting large business projects, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.

The fund was created after Michigan lost out on an $11.4 billion electric vehicle investment from Ford Motor Company.

General Motors was the first to dip into the state economic incentive fund and in turn made company history when it invested $7 billion into four Michigan manufacturing sites.

That boost alongside the state incentives has opened the doors to new investments, Whitmer said.

“We will continue building on our leadership in mobility and electrification solutions by supporting business growth in our communities,” she said. “Our economy is growing and thanks to projects like these, we will keep moving Michigan forward.”

Here’s where those job creations will take place across the state:

Southeast Michigan

St. Clair County will become home to Axiom Engineered Systems’ first U.S. facility and add more than 200 jobs in Michigan’s lower thumb.

The company specializes in thermoplastic injection molding of various components, including product design services, prototype development, manufacturing feasibility and testing/validation services. Axiom’s customer base includes most major automotive OEMs throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Italy.

Looking to increase production and fulfill additional contracts, Axiom will expand in Michigan with its first U.S. plastic injection molding facility. An existing building in the village of Capac will house operations for plastic injection manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and administration.

The Capac location has already secured more than $50 million in new business and will begin operations within an eight-month timeframe, said Axiom Group President & CEO Perry Rizzo.

“We are pleased to announce our continued expansion plans in the United States with Michigan as a strategic location for servicing our current customer base,” Rizzo said.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $13.3 million and is supported by a $1.24 million Michigan Business Development Program grant. Capac was chosen for the project over other competing locations in the U.S, according to the MEDC.

“Axiom will be bringing many jobs providing livable wages to an area of the state that has been lagging behind on wage growth,” said St. Clair County Economic Development Alliance CEO Dan Casey.

Related: Michigan’s small businesses had a growth spurt in 2021, highest new job count in two decades

In Redford Charter Township will become the new U.S. headquarters for automotive testing company UTAC.

The international company acquired Millbrook Revolutionary Engineering Inc. last year and will use the existing facility to expand into the electric vehicle market with automotive and mobility sector testing.

The company currently employs 115 people at its Michigan location. The build out of the test facility will create 85 jobs and is expected to generate a total capital investment of $26.2 million, according to the MEDC.

This project is supported by an $850,000 Michigan Business Development Program grant. Michigan was chosen for the project over competing sites in California and Ohio.

West Michigan

New equipment and a fourth shift are being added to Battle Creek’s Bleistahl.

Bleistahl manufactures powder metal valve train components for Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis.

The expansion is expected to generate a total capital investment of $8.7 million and create 69 jobs, according to the MEDC.

The project is supported by a $414,000 Michigan Business Development Program grant. Michigan was chosen for the project over competing sites in Indiana and Ohio.

“We are thrilled to expand our manufacturing operations in Battle Creek, with the support of Battle Creek Unlimited, and the MEDC. Customer demand has increased, and we will subsequently need to increase our overall production,” said Bleistahl North America LP Managing Director Anthony Tuthill. “Battle Creek has a skilled and talented workforce, many of which have already joined our team, and we are excited to add to our team as we continue to grow.”

Bleistahl also works with Michigan Works! to reach local talent in disadvantaged areas, and has worked with the nonprofit Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program to provide second chances to adult offenders as an alternative to incarceration.

Related: Michigan invests $1.5 million in semiconductor job pipeline

In Holland, longstanding employer JR Automation is adding 140 new jobs to its field of automated manufacturing and system integration.

Growing customer demands have necessitated significant upgrades and renovations. The project will be one of the largest premier machine shops in the country in terms of capabilities and size, according to the MEDC.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $9.9 million and is supported by a $2.25 million Michigan Business Development Program grant. Michigan was chosen for the project over competing sites across the company’s existing footprint, according to the MEDC.

The investment into the machining and fabrication facilities will expand JR Automation’s capabilities and allow for more control and speed, said Chief Executive Officer Craig Ulrich.

The company was acquired by Hitachi, Ltd. in 2019 and currently has 1,227 employees in Michigan.

Upper Peninsula

Calumet Electronics Corporation will become one of few manufacturers in the U.S. producing components needed in semiconductors.

The company received funding to enhance its newly constructed, 35,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility for next-generation advanced electronic components. It will have the ability to increase capability and capacity for organic substrates, a critical component in all microelectronics. The goal is to reduce American reliance on Asia to put semiconductors into service, especially in national defense applications.

Calumet Electronics was founded in 1968 to create new jobs after the copper mines closed. The company specializes in manufacturing printed circuit boards for the domestic industrial, power, aerospace, defense, medical and commercial markets.

The company currently has 300 employees. This investment will create 80 manufacturing and engineering jobs. This project will bring “good paying, family sustaining jobs” to the community, said InvestUP Chief Executive Officer Marty Fittante.

“This expansion is critical to the growth and recruitment of talented workers for a company that is in a critical industry and critical to the region,” Fittante said.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $6.5 million and is supported by a $600,000 Michigan Business Development Program grant. Through Calumet Township, the Michigan Strategic Fund awarded Calumet Electronics $2 million in Community Development Block Grant funds to assist with offsetting machinery and equipment costs.

The community building grant through HUD requires 51% of new jobs associated with the new facility and expanded operations will be held by low- to moderate-income individuals.

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