Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today praised Grand Rapids-based Universal Forest Products for its plans to invest nearly $1.5 million in equipment, building and land improvements to expand manufacturing operations at its White Pigeon (Mottville Township) facility. The expansion is expected to create up to 80 new jobs.
"Creating a thriving manufacturing sector is a critical part of my comprehensive plan to grow jobs and transform Michigan's economy," Granholm said. "The company's decision to locate its manufacturing operations here will provide jobs and opportunity for many local residents."
Universal is investing in equipment and building and land improvements to relocate some manufactured housing and recreational vehicle operations to White Pigeon from operations in Indiana that the company recently acquired.
Economic development job training funds of $22,000 for 105 current employees and four new hires at the White Pigeon facility were approved in February by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), with training provided through Glen Oaks Community College.
"The company's decision to invest and grow in Southwest Michigan is a testament to our excellent business climate and highly skilled workforce," James C. Epolito, MEDC president and CEO said. "We are happy to welcome this expansion and new manufacturing jobs to Michigan and look forward to a long-lasting partnership."
The MEDC also was involved with providing training for employees at this facility in 2003 when Universal opened it and created 80 new jobs.
"We look forward to the positive impact this expansion will have on our goals for growth in Michigan and overall," UFP President and CEO Michael B. Glenn said. "We intend to have many years of success in White Pigeon and throughout North America."
"Universal Forest Products is a great asset to our county and Mottville Township," St. Joseph County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Cathy Annis said. "We appreciate their contributions and are happy we've been able to reciprocate by supporting them with incentives such as workforce training to assist them in growing and expanding here."
In her 2007 State of the State address, Granholm emphasized the importance of making Michigan a global economic powerhouse in the 21st century. Since January 2005, the governor and the MEDC have announced the creation or retention of more than 197,000 jobs as a result of targeted assistance provided by the MEDC.
UniversalForestProducts is a producer and supplier of wood and wood-alternative products for four markets: DIY/Retail, site-built construction, manufactured housing, and industrial. The company, with 2006 sales of nearly $2.66 billion and nearly 100 operations in North America, provides framing services in some areas of the country and recently moved into the concrete forming market.
At its White Pigeon facility, Universal designs and manufactures components for site-built construction and manufacturing housing, including floor systems (such as its all-wood open-web Open Joist®), wall panels, and roof trusses.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life. For more information on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's initiatives and programs, visit the Web site at www.michigan.org.
# # #