A surgical glove manufacturing plant that promises to employ nearly 2,500 people will be established in southwestern Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam announced Monday, calling the news the biggest job creation announcement in the struggling region in a generation. 

The project in Wythe County, 250 miles west of the state capital, will create per capita jobs equivalent to Arlington’s new Amazon headquarters, supported by heavy federal spending, the Governor’s Office said. 

In an interview with The Associated Press prior to its official announcement on Monday afternoon, Northam called the project a big victory in southwestern Virginia, and pandemics and related supply chain jobs issues increased production of personal protective equipment on the premises. He said it shows the need for. 

According to a press release, Blue Star Manufacturing and American Glove Innovations have agreed to establish a joint venture and invest $ 714 million to build a nitrile butadiene rubber manufacturing plant and a nitrile glove manufacturing industry. The facility will cover more than 200 acres in an industrial park near the intersection of Interstate 77 and 81. 

The project will increase the production of raw materials and gloves currently manufactured primarily in Asia, Northam’s office said. The company wants to sell gloves to large end-users such as distributors, healthcare jobs and companies. 

The announcement comes after one of the ventures LLCs received a $ 123.1 million contract from the Pentagon in May to boost production capacity for nitrile butadiene rubber, according to federal spending records.  

Virginia is competing with Tennessee and Texas on this project, and government officials say it will create 2,464 new jobs in the next three to five years. To secure the project, ELA has agreed to pay $ 8.5 million to improve the water infrastructure of the Progress Park Industrial Land. 

According to a 2019 Associated Press survey, many of the state’s industrial parks were empty, despite heavy spending. Local officials said in a press release released Monday that the previous investment in Progress Park was rewarded. 

The Virginia Tobacco Revitalization Commission, an organization established to spend and invest part of Virginia’s national tobacco settlement, has also received $ 1.02 million from the Virginia Regional Opportunity Fund to “support additional public infrastructure.” The Northam’s office said it had approved. 

According to a press release, a legislative committee established to increase oversight of economic development initiatives has approved an $ 8.5 million investment in water infrastructure. The project can also apply for government benefits from rail access programs and labor services initiatives. 

 GOP Rep. Morgan Griffith, who represents southwest Virginia’s 9th congressional district, called the announcement “tremendous news for the region.” 

 “It will provide an opportunity for our citizens, economic growth for local communities, and tax revenues to support public services,” he said in a statement. 

Northam said the project would create “good-paying jobs.” The news release did not specify the average wage.  Southwestern Virginia experienced a long recession as coal mining was depleted and many manufacturing opportunities moved abroad. This area is also losing population. An initiative is currently underway to investigate how the state can support the economic transition to coal mines, and a report is scheduled for later this year. 

Source:  U.S. News & World Report