LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) - Kentwood manufacturer Autocam plans to add 200 new workers over the next five years as part of a $32.6-million investment, company leaders said Tuesday in Lansing.
The Michigan Economic Growth Authority board approved changing an existing state tax credit for Autocam to help with the expansion.
"We will be starting to interview immediately for the openings" and most hiring will be completed by 2012, the company's president and CEO told 24 Hour News 8.
About 130 of the jobs will be manufacturing positions.
The new hires are expected to make an average of $988 per week, which would translate to about $51,000 per year.
"These are really good-paying jobs," said Susan Jackson, vice president of business development for The Right Place, which helped with the expansion effort. "It's also a great diversification story."
In one building, Autocam machine technician Ed Van Koevering was checking a seal between two machine parts destined to become a piece of a fuel injector. It has to be machined precisely, he said, with measurements within three-tenths of a micron. That's 260 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
Not far from that Kentwood facility, manufacturing engineer Jason Jaworowicz showed a reporter a metal piece "used in spinal fixation and correction surgery."
Both divisions are set to expand, company leaders said.
The tax credit modified Tuesday was first approved in 1997, according to a Michigan Economic Development Corporation document. It came with the anticipation of 200 new jobs but "to date, the company has created 77 qualified new jobs," the document stated.
With both the original credit and the changes made, the fact remains: without creating the full number of jobs, a company cannot receive the full tax credit.
John Engler was in the governor's office when the original credit was OK'd by the MEGA board, but 24 Hour News 8 asked Gov. Jennifer Granholm whether, in general, the results showed that the job announcements don't always pan out.
"It can go either way, obviously," Granholm said. "In a recession, things might go slower for the company than what was anticipated. But sometimes we get a lot more jobs created, too."
Part of the problem, Kennedy said, was the way the tax credits used to be handled. The Autocam president and CEO said he is confident about the new 200-jobs figure.
"We have numbers on the board that are more than the 200, so we think that we can expand beyond that level," he said.
To apply for a job, visit autocam.com or the company's human resources office at 4070 East Paris Ave. SE in Kentwood.
Also Tuesday, three Grand Rapids-area projects were approved for new brownfield state tax credits at Tuesday's MEGA meeting. They are:
- Grand Valley State University's new Seidman building to house its business programs, expected to create 160 new permanent full-time jobs
- The plan to create an urban market at Ionia Avenue and Logan Street SW, expected to create 270 to 290 new full-time equivalent jobs.
- And the plan to expand The B.O.B. at Monroe Avenue and West Fulton Street, expected to create 94 new full-time jobs and 64 new part-time jobs.
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