“We have such a shortage of qualified workers that we’ve started offering a $2,000 bonus for new employees to move into Antigo. They have to live in the city though to collect their bonus. We started the project earlier this year, have had 75 apply and since then 15 hired. We’re running ads in the upper peninsula of Michigan and other spots where they’ve had factories close.” Dale Soumis told me as I toured the town of Antigo, WI (population 8,560) of his preparations for 400 to 600 new jobs that are going to be needed as local manufacturers are gearing up production.
About 22% of the workforce is in the manufacturing sector in Antigo, with no one company dominating the market. Most of the 48 manufacturing companies hire less than 100 employees, in a wide range of industries. There is everything from bowling pins to nuclear submarine bearings made in the town.
At the community event I was talking at, Mayor Mike Matousek reported that these manufacturing companies have collectively invested over $100 million into new equipment and facilities in the past three years.
Antigo also has a wonderful plan to tie Lake Antigo, Springbrook Creek and their downtown together with trails, water features and other amenities. It is an ambitious project but one that will continue to make Antigo a preferred destination for new residents and tourists. You can view this plan on their website. They hope to leverage this plan into branding the community and area as the “Community of Trails.”
Antigo is a town on the move. I hope to return in the future to witness its progress.