The Right Place And Lakeshore Advantage Spur Creation of 180 New Jobs

Posted at 5:56 PM, Mar 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-29 17:58:22-04

unemployment-job-search-help-wantedGrand Rapids, Mich. —  The Right Place, Inc. and Lakeshore Advantage, in collaboration with The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the City of Holland and the City of Walker, announced  the approval of a $1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant for Walker-based Challenge Mfg. Company. The grant will be used to support an upcoming expansion at the company’s Holland and Walker locations.

Challenge Manufacturing plans to invest $10M for expanding its metal stamping and modular assembly operations in West Michigan to support increased customer orders in the automotive industry. The new jobs will be full-time and will include benefits. The positions will range from technical to skilled and unskilled production opportunities, with the majority of the jobs being in production.

“As a proud West Michigan-based manufacturer, we are very pleased that this latest expansion of our business will happen at home,” said Boyd Vor Broker, Vice President – Finance, Challenge Mfg. Company. “The support of state and local economic development made expanding in West Michigan much more economically feasible.”

Over the past several years, automakers have increased pressure on supply chain manufacturers to locate production facilities within close proximity of final assembly plants. With increasing customer orders, Challenge continues to face pressure to expand in the Southern U.S. and abroad. With the economic support from state and local resources, Challenge was able to invest in West Michigan.

“This project exemplifies the comprehensive teamwork required to support growing West Michigan businesses,” said Birgit Klohs, President and CEO, The Right Place, Inc. “Two economic development organizations working together with state and local support were able to assemble a business package that ensured 180 new jobs and $10 million in capital investment stayed in West Michigan.”

Today, Challenge Manufacturing employs over 1,000 across their four plants in West Michigan, three in Walker and one in the City of Holland.

“With three expansions in the past three years, Challenge Manufacturing is among the fastest growing companies throughout West Michigan,” said Randy Thelen, President of Lakeshore Advantage.  “By working quickly and efficiently with our economic development partners, we were able to successfully capture additional jobs and investment in our region, which is what economic development is all about.”

The City of Walker and the City of Holland have both offered local tax abatements in support of this project.