Forest River Manufacturing to bring nearly 400 jobs to White Pigeon

Manufacturing continues to be making a strong comeback in Southwest Michigan. This time it is recreational vehicle maker Forest River Manufacturing which will break ground this spring on what is expected to be a $7 million project in the Village of White Pigeon.

Forest River Manufacturing plans to launch new products and will put up three 100,000-square-foot buildings to house the three new lines of vehicles.

It is anticipated the project will create 396 jobs, making the company eligible for a $350,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Indiana.

The company currently has manufacturing facilities across the Midwest and is headquartered in Elkhart, Ind. It builds travel trailers, fifth wheels, pop-up tent campers, park model trailers, destination trailers, commercial vehicles, buses, pontoons and other recreational vehicles.

White Pigeon Village President Daniel R. Czajowski says Forest River's decision to locate in White Pigeon came about as a result of a joint effort by the Village, Southwest Michigan First, St. Joseph County Economic Development Corp.and the State of Michigan.

Land available for development, complete with water and other utilities, plus tax incentives offered by the state and White Pigeon made the area attractive to the manufacturer.

Czajowski says there also is a pent up demand for jobs among Michigan workers that has not been met since the national economic downturn, and those workers are attractive to manufacturers.

The Michigan Strategic Fund awarded the Village of White Pigeon $1.6 million in Community Development Block Grant funds for the Forest River project. The funds will be used toward on-the-job training for 264 employees at the new facilities.

"In terms of the bigger picture," Czajowski says, "this is not just to the benefit of White Pigeon. All of the State of Michigan and St. Joseph County will benefit from by Forrest River locating here."

Sources: Daniel R. Czajowski, Village of White Pigeon; Michigan Economic Development Corp.