Michigan has lost tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs over the last few years, so it’s always nice to celebrate an occasion when we add jobs to this sector.
Earlier this week, USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan James J. Turner announced two guaranteed loans totaling $7,785,000 that will enable Skilled Manufacturing, Inc., a Traverse City manufacturing firm to hire 75 new workers.
Also attending the ceremony was Senator Carl Levin. He is the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee and during the presentation said that this project was noteworthy because its implications for our national security. Without a strong manufacturing base, he said, we could not provide our troops with the equipment they need to defend our country.
Skilled Manufacturing, Inc. is a tier 1 automotive supply company based in Traverse City that produces drive train components for General Motors. That is something that many people don’t know about Michigan – our manufacturing facilities are located across the state. Most people assume they are concentrated in Detroit, Flint and Lansing (a good many still are) but they are also based on small towns like Traverse City, located more than 240 miles northwest of Detroit.
In 2008, the company diversified into aerospace and obtained a contract for aircraft engine parts. SMI now produces components for several military and civilian aircraft.
USDA Rural Development is providing two guaranteed loans ($4,750,000 and $3,125,000) for a total investment of $7,785,000 which will allow SMI to restructure its debt and procure additional equipment. These loans were made possible through The Bank of Northern Michigan, represented at the event by Vice President for Business Banking Wade Van Houzen.
Prior to diversifying into aerospace, SMI had 145 employees. As a result of its growth into this sector, it is generating 75 new jobs, and 50 employees are already working at the Traverse City plant. SMI’s leadership is committed to helping other companies in the region and it has sub-contracted to other parts suppliers in the area to fulfill its orders.