ROCKET CENTER, W.Va. — With the news that defense contractor Northrop Grumman is planning to add up to 500 jobs to its site in Mineral County, Kevin Clark, the executive director of the county development authority said the county may need to start recruiting workers there is so much going on there.
Clark appeared on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline” to talk about the announcement of an expansion to the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in Rocket Center. The plant has over 1,000 workers currently that engineers and manufactures motors, warheads, other munitions, and metals to support the U.S. military.
“We do have a decent pool of workforce,” Clark said. “Except we are getting to the point where I think we need to seriously need to look at actually doing a campaign to recruit people to come here and work here.”
Ed Gaunch, the West Virginia Secretary of Commerce, said on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline” the state has worked out a deal with Northrop Grumman to attract it to expand at this plant.
According to Gaunch, it includes a $5 million performance loan based on new equipment and performance along with tax credits for performance and help with job training. Gaunch said the performance loan is geared to forgive itself if the company does what they say they will do in terms of adding jobs and performance.
The $5 million performance loan given out was a part of the draw for Northrop Grumman to stay in Mineral County.
“They had deals offered to them from Minnesota and Maryland,” Gaunch said. “We were competing with those two states that we know about. It’s almost a $102 million investment, the payroll is humungous. It’s a win-win for West Virginia.”
Clark said that the Mineral County Development Authority is going to own the new equipment needed by the facility and then lease it to Northrop Grumman. Gaunch confirmed the lease and added that this is a way to get around the state’s ominous tax on inventory and equipment.
Now that the deals are officially announced, Clark said the excited county can now go full force into more development in Mineral County.
“I am have been planting hints and now I can publicly talk about why some of these things are so important,” he said. “Get into some housing, get into some amenities for the citizens here so we can get people to come here and live, work and play.”
The facility had been operated by contractor Orbital ATK as Northrop Grumman recently purchased the company.
“Our Rocket Center team has engineered and manufactured technologies to support our military for more than 70 years,” said Mike Kahn, Northrop Grumman vice president, and general manager, defense systems, said in a news release.
“We are extremely pleased that the State of West Virginia will be supporting investments in both infrastructure and in our workforce to ensure we can continue to deliver the capacity and cutting-edge technology that our military services need to execute their missions for many years to come.”