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Firearms industry takes aim at continued growth

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by Joe Potosky, Oct 21, 2011.

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  1. Joe Potosky

    Joe Potosky Well-Known Member

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    Firearms industry takes aim at continued growth


    A Michigan firearms component manufacturer is considering opening a satellite foundry in South Dakota, but first needs assurance about the workforce, the firm’s owner told college and economic development officials Thursday at a forum aimed at expanding the firearms industry in the state.


    The second annual Firearm Research & Technology Forum, sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, brought together about 100 people either involved in firearms manufacturing and research in South Dakota or considering a move here from other states.


    It was part of a sustained effort to expand the firearms industry in a state touted has having a firearms- and business-friendly culture.


    “I’m being asked to set up a manufacturing operation here,” said Richard Singer, president of ACRA CAST precision metal castings company in Bay City, Mich. “I’m going to need people.”


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    He said the workforce in Michigan is not meeting his needs.


    “It’s pathetic,” Singer said. “People can’t read. They can’t add and subtract. They’re lost.”


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    A Department of Labor representative and Craig Bailey, president of Western Dakota Technical Institute, told Singer that the work force in South Dakota would be eager for the jobs he has to offer and approach them with a solid work ethic and the tech school is ready to train the workforce for the needed skills.


    South Dakota has 50 firearms companies employing 625 people, according to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and more than half of those companies started or moved here in the last decade. Two-thirds of the companies are in and around the Black Hills with others scattered in Sioux Falls, Brookings, Vermillion and other cities.


    The companies look to hire people with skills in welding, machine tool operation and CNC machining, jobs that pay about $15 an hour to start, according to the state. These occupations have seen growth in South Dakota of about 1.5 percent since 2001, compared to a decline of more than 14 percent nationwide.


    It may take a concerted training effort to prepare the next generation for these jobs due to cultural changes, said Keith Gipson, professor of gunsmithing at Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado, the nation’s largest gunsmithing school.


    “Our students are less active in shooting sports than they used to be,” Gipson said. “Some of our students can probably tell you what sort of gun is suited for (the video game) Zombie Apocalypse more than they can for deer or elk hunting.”


    The forum, which was held on the campus of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, was an effort to continue the success of the last decade.


    “The thing about good things is they can always get better,”said Chris Maxwell, director of business and community development for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.


    He said the conference is a way to forge connections among firearms and ammunition companies and research and higher education institutions while identifying opportunities to help the industry expand.


    “It’s about building that ecosystem of support,” he said.


    South Dakota’s firearms industry doesn’t rival that of states like California and Connecticut, said Mark Vaux, the state business development representative responsible for the firearms industry.


    But he said businesses from those states are considering moves here, and South Dakota is well ahead of similar states like Montana, which are trying to catch up.


    A representative with the Montana Firearms Institute, which was formed in July to develop the industry there, pointed Thursday to progress already made in South Dakota.


    “In a couple more years, we will replace South Dakota as the place to relocate,” Kalispell attorney Duncan Scott told the local Flathead Beacon.


    Respectfully, Vaux said, he doesn’t think so.


    He said South Dakota has a head start and the right attitude and business climate for developing the industry.


    “We understand that firearms companies are viable businesses run by good people with the right motivation,” Vaux said.


    Contact Barbara Soderlin at 394-8417 orbarbara.soderlin@rapidcityjournal.com.


    Read more: http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/firearms-industry-takes-aim-at-continued-growth/article_ed18a5aa-fb85-11e0-b214-001cc4c03286.html#ixzz1bQdS4Prj
     
  2. shannon391

    shannon391 Active Member

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    What are they wanting to pay these people in Michigan to where they can't find good help?

    You get what you pay for also includes employees.
     
  3. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, South Michigan folks are accustomed to 30 bucks an hour for popping windshields into cars on a line. Plus Bennies.

    HM
     
  4. shannon391

    shannon391 Active Member

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    Yeah, It's the land of milk and honey alright...
     
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