Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
March 2004
Governor Doyle Announces More than $650,000 in State Grants to Assist Stora Enso Expansion

Company to Upgrade Facilities, Expand Production Capability at Four Mills; Funding Will Help Train Over 400 Employees on New Technology, Equipment

The Department of Commerce provided Stora Enso North America with $656,300 in Customized Labor Training Grants to assist the company as it expands its production capability and trains its workers on new technology. Gov. Jim Doyle made the announcement during a visit to the company’s Wisconsin Rapids Paper Mill.

"My Grow Wisconsin initiative supports the expansion of high-end manufacturing in Wisconsin, and I am working hard to help our paper industry grow and thrive," Governor Doyle said. "I am pleased that we can help Stora Enso train over 400 employees as it makes a new investment in Wisconsin."

Stora Enso is investing $98.7 million to expand the production capability of its facilities in Biron, Kimberly, and Wisconsin Rapids. The company has decided to upgrade its capabilities and rebuild its machinery to have the latest technology in the papermaking industry. The Commerce grants will be used to train 418 current employees.

"We are grateful for this assistance from the State of Wisconsin. The training of our employees with our new equipment and processes is a key factor in our future success," said Lars Bengtsson, President of Stora Enso’s North America Division. "It is a clear demonstration of the state’s commitment to work with business and industry so we can remain competitive in a global economy."

The projects are as follows:

-- In Wisconsin Rapids, Stora Enso is investing $47.5 million to rebuild the mill’s largest paper machine to include the latest technology. Growing out of the rebuild, the company will train 161 current employees on state-of-the-art processes.

-- Stora Enso will convert and upgrade its #2 fiber line from softwood to hardwood at the Wisconsin Rapids Pulp Mill. The mill will also increase its pulp production, handling, and shipping capabilities. In connection with this $10.3 million expansion, the company will train 70 current employees on new equipment and processes.

-- With the change to hardwood at the Wisconsin Rapids Pulp Mill, the Biron facility is investing $9.2 million to build new facilities for the repulping of softwood. The company will train 33 current employees on new equipment and processes.

-- Stora Enso’s plant at Kimberly is investing $31.7 million to rebuild and add new equipment to one of its paper machines and to upgrade the wetlap repulping and pulp-handling capacity. The company will train 154 current employees on new equipment and processes.

Through his "Grow Wisconsin" Initiative, the Governor is committed to strengthening and upgrading the state’s manufacturing sector, including the paper industry, and to providing training to workers to upgrade their skills.

The Governor has proposed a worker training program to provide free job training services to manufacturers that create a significant number of new jobs in Wisconsin or make major investments in their workplace. He has directed the Department of Commerce to focus its existing training program resources to help manufacturers upgrade the skills of their workforce. In addition, the Governor has proposed a Manufacturing Competitiveness Program to help manufacturers improve their productivity, apply new technology, and become more competitive.

Stora Enso North America is the leading producer of paper products for the printing and publishing industries. It also produces specialty papers for consumer product packaging and labeling. The company has facilities in Wisconsin Rapids, Biron, Kimberly, Whiting, Stevens Point, and Niagara, Wisconsin; Duluth, Minnesota; and Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Since 2000, Commerce has provided more than $13.2 million in loan and grants to 56 Wood county projects that retained 803 jobs, created 426 jobs, and leveraged $30.7 million in new investment.

For more information on the Customized Labor Training Grant Program, contact Jamie Wall, (608) 267-0770.

--Tony Hozeny

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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