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Whitmer Announces Business Expansions Creating 420 Jobs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            

May 24, 2022     



Gov. Whitmer Announces Business Expansions Creating 420 Jobs, Community Revitalization Project, Grants to Grow Talent Pipeline in Key Industries

LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in announcing Michigan Strategic Fund approval of a wide range of projects around the state. The projects include support for three business expansions, a community revitalization project in Sturgis, a new semiconductor apprenticeship program to grow the state’s talent pipeline and other actions that will continue to strengthen Michigan’s economy. 

“Today’s approvals will create 420 good-paying jobs for Michiganders, build on our leadership in key industries, and support vibrant communities across Michigan,” said Governor Whitmer. “These automotive, semiconductor, and automation projects in Capac, Calumet, and Holland will help us continue growing our economy and delivering on the kitchen-table issues including affordable housing. I am proud of our economic development efforts that are a direct result of bipartisan collaboration last December.”

The Michigan Strategic Fund today approved support for the Semiconductor Apprenticeship Network Program, which is intended to address a shortage in the semiconductor workforce, including a $1.5 million grant in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) CARES Act funding to the SEMI Foundation to plan and develop the program over two phases.

“Michigan is one of only three states working to define curricula to support employers in the semiconductor industry. With this new apprenticeship program and our global manufacturing and automotive R&D leadership, we are leading the charge in addressing the universal industry demand for semiconductors while creating good-paying jobs for Michiganders,” said Governor Whitmer.

The Michigan Strategic Fund also approved $1.5 million in CDBG-CARES funds for the MiREV EV Jobs Academy planning grant. Announced by Governor Whitmer in September 2021, the Michigan Revolution for Electrification of Vehicles Academy/Academies (MiREV) initiative was created to position Michigan at the center of that growth by proactively preparing the talent needed for automotive mobility and electrification through current, emerging, future jobs and career pathways. 

Read the full announcement on both talent grants here.

Calumet Electronics expanding in Upper Peninsula to produce vital components for semiconductors, underscores strength of Michigan’s semiconductor supply chain

 photo of exterior of Calumet Electronics

Calumet Electronics Corporation was founded in 1968 in Calumet, Michigan to create new jobs after the copper mines closed. The company specializes in manufacturing printed circuit boards for the domestic industrial, power, aerospace, defense, medical and commercial markets. Calumet Electronics is committed to investing in the community, supporting jobs and currently employs 300 people in its Calumet Township facility.

Calumet Electronics intends to enhance a newly constructed, 35,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility for next-generation advanced electronic components. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $6.5 million and create 80 manufacturing and engineering jobs, supported by a $600,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Through Calumet Township, the Michigan Strategic Fund awarded Calumet Electronics $2 million in Community Development Block Grant funds to assist with offsetting machinery and equipment costs.

“MEDC, along with the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance, has been very supportive of Calumet Electronics throughout this very critical process,” said Calumet Electronics Vice President and Chief Operations Officer Todd Brassard. “We are committed to continue advancing Michigan’s role in electronics manufacturing.” 

When the project is completed, the company will be one of very few manufacturers in the United States with the ability to increase capability and capacity for organic substrates, a critical component in all microelectronics. By standing up manufacturing capability for these types of components, Calumet is reducing American reliance on Asia to put semiconductors into service, especially in national defense applications.

As required by federal law with CDBG funds, 51 percent of new jobs associated with the new facility and expanded operations will be held by low- to moderate-income individuals. Calumet Township is supporting the project by acting as the applicant for the CDBG grant. For information on careers with Calumet Electronics, visit

“This expansion is critical to the growth and recruitment of talented workers for a company that is in a critical industry and critical to the region,” said InvestUP Chief Executive Officer Marty Fittante. “We are grateful to the MEDC CEO Quentin Messer, and his team for the partnership and leadership. This opportunity will result in new jobs for a community that, while blessed with an unbeatable quality of life, really needs good paying, family sustaining jobs.”

Canada-based Axiom Engineered Systems establishing first U.S. operations in St. Clair County

Axiom Engineered Systems, LLC, is a subsidiary of Ontario-based Axiom Group

The company specializes in thermoplastic injection molding of various components, including product design services, prototype development, manufacturing feasibility and testing/validation services. Axiom’s customer base includes most major automotive OEMs throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Italy.

Axiom has been supplying U.S. customers from its production facilities in Ontario and Mexico but has received additional contracts that will require an increase in production capacity. The company plans to establish its first U.S. plastic injection molding facility that would supply many of the new and existing contracts. Axiom has identified an existing building in the village of Capac where it will house operations for plastic injection manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and administration. The project will be the company’s first production facility in the U.S.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $13.3 million and create +200 jobs, supported by a $1.24 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Capac was chosen for the project over other competing locations in the U.S.

“We are pleased to announce our continued expansion plans in the United States with Michigan as a strategic location for servicing our current customer base. The support working with the MEDC and the local governments helped to make this Capac Michigan location possible and we extend our gratitude for making this happen,” said Axiom Group President & CEO Perry Rizzo. “The Capac facility has already secured more than $50 million in new business and will begin operations within an eight-month timeframe. Axiom will continue its future growth investing in three additional facilities within the United States with a total investment plan in excess of $30 million with employment opportunities exceeding 650 valued staff.”

The project will bring immediate advanced manufacturing jobs to the region and build on the state’s work to position itself as the global leader in the future of mobility. This project also has the potential to lead to additional growth and investment in Michigan.

The village of Capac has offered to support the project in the form of a property tax abatement. Individuals interested in careers with Axiom Group should visit

“Axiom will be bringing many jobs providing livable wages to an area of the state that has been lagging behind on wage growth,” said St. Clair County Economic Development Alliance CEO Dan Casey. “The Capac community is excited to welcome the company to the lower Thumb area.”

Longstanding West Michigan employer JR Automation expanding in Holland, creating 140 high-wage jobs

JR Automation, founded in 1980 in Holland, is a world leader in automated manufacturing and system integration. The company was acquired by Hitachi, Ltd. in 2019, further strengthening its position as a global-caliber automation provider. The company currently has 1,227 employees in Michigan.

JR Automation is experiencing growing customer demands and business growth and plans to expand into an existing facility in Holland, where it will make significant upgrades and renovations. The project will be one of the largest premier machine shops in the country in terms of capabilities and size. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $9.9 million and create 140 high-wage jobs, supported by a $2.25 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen for the project over competing sites across the company’s existing footprint.

The project will bring immediate jobs to the Holland region and builds on the state’s work to position itself as a global leader in the future of automation. In addition, this expansion will solidify the company’s longstanding presence in Michigan and will make the Holland facility a preferred site for future growth and investment.

“The State of Michigan and the MEDC continue to demonstrate their commitment towards keeping Michigan businesses competitive in the global landscape,” said JR Automation Chief Executive Officer Craig Ulrich. “Through their generous support and the hard work of Lakeshore Advantage, JR Automation will be creating one of the top machining and fabrication facilities in West Michigan, expanding our capabilities while allowing for more control and speed in delivering industry-best solutions for our customers,” said Craig Ulrich.

The city of Holland anticipates approval of a property tax abatement in support of the project. For information on careers with JR Automation, visit

“JR Automation is an excellent example of a future-focused company expanding and providing high skilled jobs in West Michigan,” said Lakeshore Advantage President Jennifer Owens. “We are honored to support the growth of this automation solutions provider and we celebrate their continued success.”

Community development project will bring workforce housing, farm-to-table restaurant to downtown Sturgis

 picture of exterior of 108 W. Chicago project

The 108 W. Chicago project will include the construction of a new, five-story mixed-use building in the heart of downtown Sturgis. When completed, the project will consist of 23 workforce housing units and commercial space that will house a farm-to-table, destination steakhouse restaurant. The restaurant operator has also committed to launching an employment program that will create paid vocational development internships for people with disabilities, preparing them to transition to full-time employment at the steakhouse or other area businesses

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $11.9 million and create 25 full-time equivalent jobs, supported by a $4.1 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based loan. In addition, the City of Sturgis Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received MSF approval of $1,228,819 in state tax capture to reimburse for eligible brownfield-related activities.

The project will transform underutilized property into a vibrant development that will bring needed housing and enhanced walkability to downtown Sturgis. The city of Sturgis is supporting the project through the local portion of the brownfield plan, valued at $1.4 million. The city is also approving a 15-year Neighborhood Enterprise Zone valued at $645,262 and is providing a $400,000 grant in support of the project. The Sturgis Area Community Foundation will also provide a $750,000 grant. The city of Sturgis is engaged with MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) program.

“Sturgis is on the cusp of a new era of growth, but to fully embrace the opportunity ahead, we must ensure our community is prepared with the necessary housing and amenities,” said Root and Branch Real Estate President John Carmichael, developer of the project. “Our mixed-use development will provide new living options that our community desperately needs as well as a long-desired gathering place for residents and visitors to come together. With the addition of the MSF award, this project is a testament to the community’s commitment to developments of this nature and, we hope, a harbinger of future partnerships.”

MSF also approved The World Economic Forum Advanced Manufacturing Centre, providing support for a new center focused solely on the future of manufacturing to help solidify Michigan’s position as the manufacturing capital of the United States. The center will be hosted at Automation Alley in Troy and will be a partnership between the World Economic Forum, Automation Alley, Oakland County and the State of Michigan.

“Today’s MSF actions underscore our commitment to fostering an environment conducive to long-term economic growth for all Michiganders. The approved projects highlight the continued strength of our state’s talented workforce and our leadership positions in key industries,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of MEDC and President and Chair of the MSF Board. “We are grateful to the Governor, legislators and local officials for their continued support of our efforts. These projects reflect our commitment to seize opportunities that ensure Michigan becomes an even better place for each of our 10 million-plus friends and neighbors to live, work, visit, play, and create futures.”