An Arizona based wind blade manufacturer has announced plans to “restructure its operations” in Newton. TPI Composites opened the plant in 2008. Company officials did not disclose how many workers will be laid off, but the total workforce will drop to 233 according to a press release. TPI has employed up to 300 workers.
The State of Iowa provided $2 million in incentives to TPI. Kay Snyder, a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Economic Development, says the contract called for the company to create 500 jobs by July 2010. She says the employment levels will be reviewed in July and if the company has not met their obligations, terms of the contract would likely be renegotiated. TPI officials say they still plan to raise their workforce in Newton to 500 by this February.
Snyder says TPI’s performance in Newton will likely be discussed today when the Iowa Economic Development Board considers a proposal for TPI to build a nearly $40 million plant in Sioux City. “As far as an impact on an award for TPI that’s being considered by the Iowa Economic Development Board, I know full consideration of the company as a whole is looked at,” Snyder said. “But, at this point and time, I’m uncertain as to the conversations that are taking place and the outcome.”
Sioux City and TPI are seeking money from the state for both job-training assistance and developing the infrastructure around the proposed facility. The company is hoping to open the Sioux City factory next summer and employ 500 workers there by the end of 2012.
Governor Chet Culver released the following statement in response to TPI’s furlough plans in Newton: “While Iowa retains its status as a national leader in wind energy manufacturing, consumer demand fluctuates as it does in any industry. There is reason to be optimistic TPI eventually will exceed its job creation goals as Iowa’s burgeoning wind industry continues to establish itself.”