WYTHE COUNTY, Va. – Virginia leaders are making an investment in Southwest Virginia that is paving the way for thousands of jobs to come to the region.
On Monday, Gov. Ralph Northam was in Wytheville for the major economic development announcement.
With Virginia committing $8.5 million to upgrade infrastructure at Progress Park in Wythe County, a major joint venture has committed to building a manufacturing operation projected to employ 2,500 people and produce up to 60 billion medical gloves a year, within three to five years.
The infrastructure upgrades 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, according to Northam.
Thanks to those upgrades a joint venture between Blue Star Manufacturing and American Glove Innovations (AGI) has 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 within Progress Park.
This investment would increase the raw material production and manufacturing of exclusively ‘Made in USA’ personal protection nitrile gloves.
Currently, these gloves are made mainly in Asia.
“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 Northam. “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.”
While employing about 2,500 people, the new plant will be capable of producing up to 60 billion medical gloves a year.
Blue Star NBR and Blue Star-AGI plan to partner with Wytheville Community College for workforce training.
The two companies will also collaborate with Virginia Tech and other local educational institutions to recruit engineering school graduates to help keep employment and careers within Virginia.