America was once considered the textile industry’s “home address,” producing the majority of the world’s garments and employing hundreds of thousands of workers.
Today, hardly any clothing comes with a Made in the USA tag, thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the decision of many companies to move their work to low labor and material cost countries such as China.
There are signs of growing demand and interest in U.S. apparel manufacturing, largely fueled by the collapse of China’s garment factories and related cost increases.
One push to restore apparel and manufacturing and technical skills is underway in Flint Township, the home of Peckham Manufacturing, a division of the Lansing-based nonprofit vocational rehabilitation organization, which provides paid job training opportunities for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment.
The organization has hired and trained more than 60 sewing machine operators from the Flint area. It will host an open house at its newly-renovated manufacturing facility on Thursday, Sept. 5.
“As a community organization with a mission to help those with barriers reach their full potential, it makes sense for us to growth our services in Flint,” says Mitchell Tomlinson, Peckham president and CEO.
Peckham’s operators are working in a modern textile manufacturing environment equipped to meet the demands of today’s textile clients, including the U.S. military.
The facility, once a furniture retail space, has more than 33,000 square feet of manufacturing space, with more than 8,000 square feet of flexible office and classroom space, including an internet café, training rooms and more.
The company projects that demand and related hiring will continue to increase with the opening of its Flint Township-based facility, says Shavonne Lewis, Peckham’s Outreach and Brand Manager.
Editor’s Note: Peckham’s open house will be held from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sept. 5 . There will be a ribbon cutting and brief program beginning at 4 p.m.
Peckham is located at 3080 S. Linden Rd. To learn more visit peckham.org