HUNTINGDON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro toured Cabinetworks in Mount Union Thursday to highlight their project expansion which creates new jobs.
Shapiro and Acting Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Rick Siger toured the facility along with company official. The manufacturing plant invested $23 million to transform its 206,000 square foot facility but also add 327 jobs.
Cabinetworks Group is the country’s largest independently owned kitchen and bathroom cabinet manufacturer and distributor. In October 2022, the Michigan-based company announced a partnership with the state where funding was provided for training new workers in manufacturing and production.
“This has the potential to be a real game changer,” Shapiro said. “This has the potential to drive real change and growth and positive effects in this rural community.”
The company received $1.5 million in grants from the state already. One of those investments included a million dollars in training new workers and investing in apprenticeships.
This expansion is a three year project that will disperse the finances evenly that way. CabinetsWorks Group Vice President of Manufacturing Chad Miller said they’re already successful within their first eight months.
Miller said they already created 100 jobs, and produce close to a thousand cabinets everyday. He said it’s great that the government is showing support for their investments and growth into Huntingdon County.
“Just him voicing Pennsylvania support for the overall project,” Miller said. “We talked a lot about workforce strategy, growth, development, retention efforts in the future, and apprenticeship programs. All things are going to be absolutely critical for us continuing to grow in Mt. Union.”
Shapiro’s budget proposal includes investments in economic development to help attract and retain businesses. That includes $12 million increase for the Pennsylvania First program to ensure funding opportunities for more expansion projects like the one at Cabinetworks.
His budget also includes investments into technical and career programs, as he said those students are the future for manufacturing. Siger said state investments help speed up business and increase attraction for rural areas.
“We have to break down bureaucratic barriers and move at the speed of business to ensure job creating projects like this happen right here,” Siger said. “And we have to invest in areas that will help us attract and retain businesses. For example the Pennsylvania First program is the most important tool we have to help us win competitive business projects.”
“We need to invest in that type of skills-based education in high school to be more competitive. There’s a direct connection in preparing those students of today for jobs of tomorrow like the ones you are doing right now,” Shapiro said. “That’s why we’re making those investments.”
Miller said the company plans to invest more in 2024 and 2025.