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June 23, 2005


CHICAGO – Continuing his Opportunity Returns pledge to support businesses and create jobs in the Southeastern region, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $300,000 in support to help Mattoon Precision Manufacturing, Inc. (MPMI) expand its operations in Mattoon.  As a result of the state’s support, the company will create 28 new jobs and retain 114 jobs and spur more than $5 million in private investment.  Mattoon Precision, Inc. is retooling existing and installing new machinery as it continues to build its automotive parts business.
“I made a commitment to investing in companies that invest in Illinois, and I am proud to partner with Mattoon Precision as it upgrades its facility to increase the company’s competitiveness,” Gov. Blagojevich said.  “Across Illinois, the economy is gaining steam and, by teaming with businesses, we’re creating jobs and providing a better, stronger future for this region and the entire state.”
The Opportunity Returns support comes through a special collaboration between MPMI, Coles Together and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), who will administer the state’s investment.  Since it’s founding in 1989, Mattoon Precision Manufacturing, Inc. has specialized in precision auto parts machining.  The company uses state-of-the-art production technology, as it meticulously manufactures auto parts for major international automotive companies, and the state’s investment will help the Illinois facility to remain competitive. 
“Mattoon Precision appreciates the effort put forth locally by Angela Griffin and Coles Together.  Without such strong local support, this investment in the manufacturing workforce in Coles County would likely not have occurred,” said Robert Shamdin, President and COO of Mattoon Precision Manufacturing, Inc.  “Auto parts manufacturing is such a competitive business and Gov. Blagojevich’s support will help to not only retool our existing manufacturing lines, but expand our manufacturing capabilities to meet new market demands.  Our employees are doing their part, I’m thankful the Governor is supporting their efforts.”
“Through the past year, the unemployment rate in Southeastern Illinois has gone down from 6.3% to 5.4% and statewide unemployment rate has also fallen considerably.  This is evidence that Gov. Blagojevich’s proactive Opportunity Returns economic development strategy is supporting the Illinois business community, creating jobs and helping our economy to grow stronger,” said DCEO Director Jack Lavin. “Gov. Blagojevich is proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with strong manufacturers like Mattoon Precision, and he will continue to keep this and other companies strong in the years ahead.”
“There is an important need for partnerships between the state and local governments, and Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns strategy allows for these relationships to develop.  This strategy recognizes that economic development often starts at a local level, and, in this case, Coles Together connected Mattoon Precision and state leaders so we could keep this company and our local economy strong,” said Angela Griffin, executive director of Coles Together.
Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history.  Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – each with a regional team that is empowered and expected to rapidly respond to opportunities and challenges.  Opportunity Returns is about tangible, specific actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to businesses.  It is about upgrading the skills of the local workforce, increasing the access to capital, opening new markets, improving infrastructure, and creating and retaining jobs.  Opportunity Returns is about successfully partnering with companies and communities, both large and small, to help all of Illinois reach its economic potential.


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