2500 manufacturing jobs promised in Wythe County glove factory
WYTHEVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Governor Ralph Northam is calling a recent investment in southwest Virginia the largest job creation in the region in a generation.
Northam was in Wytheville Monday afternoon to announce a joint venture which is slated to bring more than 2,500 jobs to the area.
The announcement also represents a restoration of jobs on American soil, bringing the creation of personal protective equipment back from Asia.
Blue Star NBR, LLC and Blue Star-AGI, Inc., a joint venture between Blue Star Manufacturing and American Glove Innovations (AGI), have committed to invest $714.1 million to establish an advanced, one-of-a-kind nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) manufacturing facility and nitrile glove production operation in Wythe County’s Progress Park.
Governor Northam said the venture is a direct result of state investments which will upgrade Progress Park. Those investments include $3 million to expand the Fort Chiswell Wastewater Plant, $1.5 million to extend public sewer infrastructure, and $4 million to build a water tank serving all of Progress Park. The water tank and plant upgrades are also slated to serve the surrounding community. They’ll take up about 200 acres, with the potential to triple in size in the future.
During the announcement Monday in Wytheville, leaders said Virginia successfully competed against Tennessee and Texas for the project. Those 2,500 jobs should come within three to five years.
“These investments are leading to the largest job creation commitment Southwest Virginia has seen in a generation, and it’s a game-changer for the Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam in a press release. “This is about investing to bring jobs back to the United States from overseas, and doing it right here in rural America. We can all be proud the Commonwealth’s investment is bringing these jobs back to America at this unique manufacturing campus. This can be transformational for all of Southwest Virginia.”
According to Blue Star NBR, the company produces nitrile butadiene rubber, an oil-resistant synthetic rubber made from a copolymer of acrylonitrile and butadiene. The first NBR facility in Wythe County is expected to have an annual capacity of approximately 90,000 metric tons, which can support the production of up to 11 billion gloves annually. The first of Blue Star-AGI’s facilities aims to have a launch quantity between 5 and 8 billion gloves per year and then scale up to reach production of 60 billion gloves a year.
Leaders say they’ll focused predominantly on selling in Northam America. They plan to produce for distributors and users in healthcare, government, retail and hospitality sectors.
The company aims to meet demand for these kinds of gloves and help fix the supply chain shortages and breakdowns that have been highlighted by the pandemic.
Congressman Morgan Griffith and Delegate Chris Hurst were on hand for the announcement, along with a number of other local leaders.
You can read more about the announcement here.
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