Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It's More Than Official Now

While Ruger made their official announcement that they intended to open their third plant in Mayodan, North Carolina back in early July, it became really official yesterday with an announcement ceremony involving Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC), numerous state and local officials, and Ruger CEO Mike Fifer.

From the Rockingham County's local paper, the News-Advance:
The busy atmosphere outside Unifi’s former dye plant on Cardwell Road in Mayodan on Tuesday morning was only a small indication of things to come. More than 150 people gathered under a tent beside the 221,000-square-foot building to hear Gov. Pat McCrory make the official announcement that Sturm, Ruger & Co. would locate the company’s newest manufacturing facility in Rockingham County.

McCrory said the new plant would create more than 450 new jobs and invest more than $26 million in the Mayodan location by the end of 2017.
Video of the event from the Winston-Salem Journal can be seen here.

Included in the incentives to Ruger from the State of North Carolina is a Job Development Investment Grant that could be worth as much as $9.6 million according to the press release from the Governor's Office.
The project was made possible in part by an award to Ruger from the state Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program, as voted by the state Economic Investment Committee. Receipt of the award is based on proof of job creation and other performance requirements. JDIGs are awarded only to new and expanding businesses and industrial projects whose benefits exceed the costs to the state, and which would not be undertaken in North Carolina without the grant.

Under the terms of the company’s JDIG award, Ruger is eligible to receive up to twelve annual grants equal to 75 percent of the state personal income tax withholdings from the eligible new jobs created since the date of the initial award. Receipt of each annual grant is based on state-certified proof that the company has fulfilled incremental job creation requirements. Over twelve years, the JDIG award could yield aggregate benefits to Ruger of up to $9.46 million upon creation of 473 new jobs.
This report from WFMY-TV2 in Greensboro discusses more about the grants. Rockingham Community College will receive $700,000 for workforce training with another $372,000 going to Ruger for employee training. In addition, people and businesses in the Town of Mayodan are quite excited about the possibilities that the new Ruger plant will bring to that town.

Other anecdotal evidence that the people of Mayodan and Rockingham County are on board with the Ruger expansion comes from Perry Hughes who is the chairman of the career and technology education department at Rockingham Community College. Registration for fall classes began yesterday at 10am. He had a student who arrived before 7:30am to be first in line for a slot in their machining program.
“We’re starting to look at ways to expand our machining program capacity and Ruger hasn’t even arrived yet,” Hughes said.

The final day registration for courses at RCC opened, Hughes said he arrived at his office at 7:30 a.m. to prepare for the 10 a.m. registration. One young man was already sitting outside the door when Hughes arrived.

“He said he had already been there for a while, but wanted to make sure he was first in line,” Hughes said.

It was fortunate the young man made that decision. Hughes said he only had two slots left in the machining program.

“Education is a supply and demand industry and right now our demand is much greater than the supply,” Hughes said. “With industries like Ruger coming to the area, we’re going to have to find ways to work with these companies and expand our programs to meet the demand. We’ve even considered the possibility of having day and night classes to allow for more students.”
RCC has an associate's degree program in computer-integrated machining which I'm sure will be sending a number of graduates to Ruger over the coming years.

UPDATE: More on the official announcement as well on how the RCC computer-integrated machining program will tie into Ruger's plans from WGHP-Fox8 in High Point.

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