Dearborn-based apparel firm Carhartt plans to hire up to 125 more workers in Dearborn with an average $43 hourly wage, rather than in Kentucky or Mexico, with help from a recently approved state grant.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday that Carhartt has been approved for a $937,500 performance-based grant from the Michigan Business Development Program to assist with an anticipated $4.65 million capital investment at its Dearborn campus, which is expected to result in the new hiring.
The grant was approved last week by the Michigan Strategic Fund.
Carhartt had told economic development officials that, absent the nearly $1 million in grant assistance, it may have hired those new positions not in Dearborn but rather at its IT service center offices in Mexico or distribution center in Hanson, Kentucky, or Supply Chain Administration office in Irvine, Kentucky. The firm also considered making the new positions fully remote.
Carhartt must create all 125 jobs to get the full grant
“A new facility in Mexico and two Kentucky facilities are alternative locations for this project due to thehigher cost of recruiting and maintaining talent and the higher cost of doing business in Michigan comparedto those locations,” according to a Michigan Economic Development Corp. briefing memo.
The ultimate size of the state grant will depend on the total number of new jobs Carhartt creates over a three-year period. The firm must create all 125 jobs to get the full $937,500.
Carhartt does about $1.1 billion in annual revenues, according to the briefing memo, and already employs 644 people in Michigan and more than 5,500 worldwide.
“We’re working hard in a bipartisan fashion to ensure Michigan’s business climate and talented manufacturing workforce can thrive and create more jobs,” Whitmer said in a statement. “That work paid off over the last year, as evidenced by the investment and growth by longstanding companies like Carhartt continuing to invest in Michigan,”
Carhartt’s anticipated $4.65 million capital investment would expand the firm’s digital presence and online marketing, according to the briefing memo.
Jobs for web developers, marketers, sales and customer service workers
Carhartt has already spent more than $30 million at two of three facilities at its Dearborn campus, the memo said, and the anticipated project could bring about an expansion at the third building, “as well as future projects that involve a women’s brand and diversity, equity and inclusion program expansion.”
The project will involve hiring people for designing and managing digital content for the Carhartt brand, including web developers, marketing specialists and sales and customer service personnel. The jobs will pay an average $43 per hour, or $33.20 per hour at the lowest end.
“We’re excited to bring more high-paying jobs to Michigan,” Carhartt Chief Financial Officer Susan Telang said in a statement. “Our business continues to grow year over year, and partnering with the MEDC allows us to expand our employee base by adding top talent and, at the same time, continue to invest in our home state where Carhartt was established in 1889.”
A Carhartt representative did not provide any additional details about the planned expansion in Dearborn.