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Connor Sports cultivates skilled trades talent in the Upper Peninsula
October 04, 2019
Manufacturing Week highlights Michigan businesses and careers in the industry
Friday, Oct. 4, 2019
Contact: Gabby Abel
LANSING, Mich. – Like a basketball needs a hoop, a court needs a good floor.
Located in the Western Upper Peninsula in Amasa, Connor Sports has made a name for itself by manufacturing Michigan-made hardwood floors for NBA courts, college fieldhouses, the NCAA Final Four, Summer Olympics and high school gymnasiums for nearly 150 years.
Founded in 1872, Connor Sports installed its first basketball court in 1914. Open 365 days a year, this well-established company relies heavily on the work of high-skilled, local employees to keep up with the growing demand.
“We manufacture flooring for a variety of venues from school gymnasiums to college and professional courts. Our 150 employees have a variety of skills that help them succeed in the many jobs we have in our plant. From wood planing to portable assembly, our workers are dedicated and hard working,” Plant Director David Grandt said. “As our demand continues to grow, we are on the lookout for more locals interested in learning more about the jobs we have available.”
Connor Sports has created many stable, well-paying skilled trades jobs in the region such as maintenance technicians, machine operators, assemblers and inspectors and other supervisory roles. Because of the need for skilled workers and the specificity of the work done in the factory, Connor Sports also offers paid, on-the-job training for residents interested in a job at the manufacturing plant.
“You can’t teach a lot of what we do here in school. Many of the jobs require anywhere from three to 12 months of hands-on training,” Grandt said. “We even offer cross-training to current employees to make sure they remain competitive and competent as they progress through our company.”
Most jobs at Connor Sports only require a high school diploma with additional training provided by the company.
Every square foot of sports flooring made and installed by the company is manufactured and assembled in Michigan. The company takes great steps to ensure its materials including lumber and other flooring components are locally produced.
“We take pride in supporting our local economy by sourcing the majority of our raw materials, components and subassemblies from other Michigan-based businesses, many within a few miles of our plant,” Technical Director Jason Gasperich said.
Manufacturing careers are continually growing in Michigan. The manufacturing industry in Michigan represents one-fifth of the state’s gross state product and employs more than 630,000 residents.
“Michigan’s manufacturing industry has shaped our economy for decades, representing one-fifth of the state’s gross state product and puts hundreds of thousands of Michiganders to work,” said LEO Workforce Development Director Stephanie Beckhorn. “We are always looking to attract and retain great talent in Michigan and are proud to highlight company’s like Connor Sports for the work they are doing in the Upper Peninsula.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed Sept. 29 – Oct. 5 Michigan Manufacturing Week, encouraging residents to reflect on the road Michigan has traveled as a manufacturing state and the bright future that lies ahead.