They’re not as frequent as any of us would like.
But every now and then, we’re getting signs that local manufacturing may be on its way back.
A defense contractor in Dickinson County will soon be expanding and adding about 100 new jobs.
The Oldenburg Group is doing that in Kingsford through its new Technology Center.
Company CFO Joe Wouters says the facility will offer engineering and project management for Oldenburg’s factories in Iron River and Rhinelander, Wisconsin.
Oldenburg makes, among many other things, cargo and weapons elevators that can be found on most ships in the U.S. Navy.
The company bought the land near Ford Airport about 3 years ago.
The city was the previous owner, and city officials were able to get MDOT and the USDA’s Rural Development Grant Program on board with funding.
Oldenburg itself is investing more than $5 million in the project.
Governor Jennifer Granholm and Senator Carl Levin were among those on hand for a groundbreaking Oldenburg hosted this afternoon.
The governor says the center will put Michigan Tech and NMU grads to work, which will help prevent Michigan’s notorious ‘brain drain’ — the departure of skilled Michigan young people to other states because of a lack of jobs.
Sen. Levin says there’s a lot of reason for pessimism right now, given the high unemployment, but he thinks the public-private partnership that created the center means there’s still reason for optimism about the Michigan economy.
The center should be built by next spring.
Wouters says Oldenburg employees should be moving from their current facility on Breitung Avenue to the Technology Center next May.