Waupaca Foundry plans to invest $4.3 million and acquire an existing 50,000-square-foot facility in Ironwood. The Michigan Business Development Program has awarded Waupaca Foundry a $1.2 million performance-based grant. The new facility will create 61 new jobs.
The expansion addresses increasing customer demand and adds iron casting processing capabilities, including cleaning and finishing, in a location where there is sufficient labor supply, Waupaca Foundry Executive Vice President John Wiesbrock said in a release.
“The economy is strong and Waupaca Foundry is growing due to increased customer demand for cast and machined iron castings. Opening a facility to handle cleaning and finishing of cast parts will allow us to meet customers’ expectations in quality and delivery of their parts,” he said.
Prior to choosing a new location, Waupaca Foundry leaders conducted exploratory job fairs and identified a strong pool of motived, talented workers in the Gogebic County region. In December, the Ojibway Correctional Facility closed, leaving many area workers jobless.
“Like many employers across the nation, Waupaca Foundry is finding ways to overcome low unemployment and a shortage of skilled workers,” said CEO Mike Nikolai. “There simply are not enough workers to fill the open positions we have, so we explored expansion in regions that had a solid base of talented workers.”
Waupaca Foundry has already hired and on-boarded more than 35 new team members from the Upper Peninsula who are currently working full-time in Waupaca while the new facility is preparing for production.
Waupaca Foundry employs 4,500 team members at seven locations throughout the United States, including its sites in Waupaca and Marinette.