Athens manufacturing facility expected to create 170 jobs

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — A new metal and plastic processing plant is expected to create more than 100 jobs in north Alabama, Gov. Robert Bentley announced Friday.

Shape Corp. is planning to build a manufacturing plant in Athens and invest $24 million in the facility, Bentley said. The company’s products are used to make office furniture, medical and agricultural supplies and are also used in the automotive industry.

The company is planning to start building its facility at an industrial park this month and expects the plant to begin operating in late summer 2016.

The Alabama Industrial Development Training workforce development program and the Robotics Technology Park in Tanner were two key elements in recruiting the company to Alabama, Bentley said.

The Robotics Technology Park is composed of three training facilities focused on specific industries and is a collaboration among the state, the Alabama Community College System, AIDT and robotics industry leaders, according to the park’s website.

“Alabama’s existing workforce, workforce training capabilities and pro-business infrastructure are all critical components in my endeavor to bring new jobs to Alabama,” Bentley said in a statement.

“This is a great day for Athens and Limestone County,” The Decatur Daily quoted Limestone Commission Chairman Mark Yarbrough as saying ( “We’re going to bend over backwards to do what we can to help with this transition of Shape Corp. into Limestone County.”

The Michigan-based Shape Corp. also operates facilities in Mexico, France, the Czech Republic, China and Japan, officials said.

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