5 Businesses Receive $1.7M for Projects Expected to Create Nearly 550 Jobs

5 Businesses Receive $1.7M for Projects Expected to Create Nearly 550 Jobs

Among the recipients of the awards are Cantel Medical Group and Up North Plastics, which is planning a more than $100 million project that is expected to create 200 jobs.

Five businesses in the state have been awarded more than $1.7 million in grant money to support job-creating projects, the largest among them being a more than $100 million addition to the headquarters of Cottage Grove-based plastics manufacturer Up North Plastics Inc.

The other beneficiaries to the grants, announced Wednesday by Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), include Cantel Medical Corp, NAPCO International LLC, QA1 Precision Products Inc., and Vision Ease. Altogether, the projects are expected to create 549 jobs.

“These expansion projects, and the new jobs that come with them, will continue to support the economy of these local communities and the entire state,” says DEED Commissioner Steve Grove.

The awarded funds and project details for each recipient are as follows:

  • Plymouth-based healthcare products and services provider Cantel Medical Corp—which specializes in infection prevention—was awarded $675,000 to renovate its main facility. In a project expected to cost $4.5 million and create 101 jobs within three years, the company will add a 20,000-square-foot innovation and training center and a 7,500-square-foot research and development testing center. The new jobs will have an average hourly wage of $28.21.
  • NAPCO International, Inc., a Brooklyn Park-based manufacturer of military and aerospace parts, was awarded $110,000 toward a project expected to cost about $1.68 million and create 18 jobs with an average hourly wage of $24.36.
  • QA1 Precision Products, Inc., which is based in Lakeville and manufactures shock absorbers, driveshafts, and accessories, was awarded $350,000 for a project that the company believes will add 30 jobs within three years.
  • Cottage Grove-based plastics manufacturer Up North Plastics Inc. is undergoing a project that involves adding a 421,000-square-foot facility next to an existing facility at its headquarters, at an anticipated cost of more than $100 million. The addition is expected to create 200 jobs within two years.
  • For a $23 million project involving building a large Rx production site, the Ramsey-based ophthalmic lens manufacturer Vision Ease, LP, was awarded $450,000. The expansion is slated to add 200 jobs within three years.

The grants stem from the Minnesota Job Creation Fund, a pay-for-performance program that contributes to private corporate expansion projects that meet certain criteria relating to increasing statewide job opportunities.

Projects within the Twin Cities metro area must result in the creation of 10 full-time jobs and the business behind it must itself invest at least $500,000 into the work, while projects in Greater Minnesota—or any projects owned by 51 percent minority individuals—must result in 5 full-time jobs and involve a minimum $250,000 investment from the corporate entity.

Since being established in 2014, the Job Creation Fund has awarded more than $43 million, to help 95 businesses create 6,315 new jobs.

“The Job Creation Fund helps promote economic growth for all of Minnesota,” said Governor Walz. “Today that means hundreds of new jobs in Plymouth, Brooklyn Park, Lakeville, Cottage Grove and Ramsey.”