A year ago, Appleton Coated went into receivership and began laying off workers.
Monday, under Midwest Paper Group. the paper mill has more than 300 people back on the job. With new state incentives, a dozen more jobs could be added and secured for several years ahead. For the first time in a long time, a future seems secure.
"Things are going tremendously well, so we're proud to continue on the legacy this community has in paper making, and we're looking forward to the next step," Midwest Paper President Kyle Putzstuck said.
Company leaders welcomed Governor Scott Walker to the plant Monday. Together, they announced a $30 million investment that will add about a dozen jobs and transition the mill to meet customer's online demands.
"We are making container board, which is essentially the inside of a box and the outside of a box," Putzstuck explained. "That market, as you can imagine, is skyrocketing right now."
That market is helping the region's workforce and drawing the state's attention. Monday's announcement included a $1.8 million incentive package over a three year period. The company can only get those full credits if the 321 jobs are here by 2020 and then maintained through 2022.
"This was an industry that we thought was important to play a role in, and we're absolutely thrilled with what's happening here," Walker said.
An economic study shows this move could also indirectly create nearly 600 other jobs and generate $9 million of sales tax revenue over a five year period.
This announcement also follow other recent job announcements in the paper industry. Green Bay Packaging is building a new facility that will create and retain jobs, and the state senate will soon take up a major incentive package for Kimberly-Clark in an effort to keep one plant from closing.