Recent announcements about new industrial facilities in two very different towns have bolstered the lauded strength of the manufacturing sector in Michigan.
Detroit – the state’s industrial epicenter, and the worldwide home of the legacy auto industry – won the competition in the U.S. for the site of a new electric commercial vehicle battery plant. German company AKASOL AG (see more about them here), which produces high performance lithium-ion battery systems for a variety of different EV applications, had launched the search for the best location for their first American factory last year. On June 26 they announced that metro Detroit had won out. The new plant, to be located in Hazel Park, is expected to begin production next year, and will create over 200 new jobs over the next five years. The State of Michigan provided support for the plant by awarding AKASOL a $2.24 million Michigan Business Development Grant for the construction of the facility.
As far away from Detroit as you can go and still be in Michigan is the small Upper Peninsula (UP) town of Ironwood, right on the Wisconsin border and just 18 miles from Lake Superior. A mining and logging boom town in the early and middle 1900s, Ironwood has endured multiple doses of bad business news. The mines all shut down decades ago, and late last year the Michigan Department of Corrections closed the Ojibway Correctional Facility in nearby Marenisco, with a loss of over 200 jobs. So the grand opening on July 8 of the new Ironwood facility for Waupaca Foundry, Inc., was a welcome reversal of fortunes for this town of 5,000.