NEENAH — Neenah-based specialized electronics manufacturer Plexus Corp. is expanding and adding hundreds of jobs.
The company announced plans Monday to build a new 410,000 square foot manufacturing facility, which will be located south of its current facilities on Enterprise Dr. in Neenah.
The new facility is expected to generate at least 350 new full-time jobs.
The company had looked at moving production elsewhere.
Governor Scott Walker was on hand for the announcement of the $15 million in state tax credits doled out for the $50 million project.
"A lot of these projects have been worked on for six months to a year, so there are things you can't just materialize in a month or two," said Walker of the relationship between tax credits and job creation in the state.
The tax credits will be given annually over a seven-year period.
In order to receive the funds, Plexus must create at least 350 new jobs and retain 1,000 current jobs.
The announcement comes after Plexus laid off 35 production workers at the end of April.
Plexus says those layoffs were a part of a normal production decrease and those employees would be at the top of the list for re-hiring when manufacturing picks up.
"I think if you look at manufacturing, in particular, since I've taken office,” said Governor Walker in an interview after the press conference. “More than 14,000 new manufacturing jobs (have been created and), just since the beginning of the year, 6,500."
Company leaders say that Governor Walker's reforms are creating a better environment and did help the company’s decision to stay in Neenah.
"You know having a healthy economics in the state of Wisconsin is important for us as well,” said Plexus President and CEO Dean Foate. “And so we have to have a healthy economic environment in order to have confidence in where the state is going and for us to invest."
State Democrats say the Plexus announcement is fantastic news for Wisconsin.
"We certainly would want Scott Walker to succeed in creating jobs,” said party spokesperson Graeme Zielinski in a phone interview with FOX 11. “It's just he doesn't know how. And he's actually salted the earth for job creation here in Wisconsin."
Zielinski says the governor’s tenure has hurt small businesses and the governor’s private-sector job creation numbers are a stretch.
“He's absolutely cooking the books on his jobs record - this is like the Kremlin reporting that beet production is up 400 percent,” said Zielinski.
In March, the state Department of Workforce Development released numbers saying Wisconsin lost 9,700 private sector jobs since Walker took office last year.
Between March 2011 and March 2012, Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs, more than any other state according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Governor Walker says revised job creation numbers will be released Wednesday, showing better than expected job growth in the state.
Plexus says the job openings will range from engineering positions to spots on the production floor.
Construction is expected to start in July, though the plans have not been finalized yet.
The new facility is expected to be finished by fall of 2013 and completely up and running at full production strength by July 2014.
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