MAYODAN, N.C. -- Gov. Pat McCrory was in Mayodan Tuesday, officially announcing that Sturm, Ruger & Co. will be bringing hundreds of jobs to North Carolina.
Ruger officials announced in July they wanted to buy an old Unifi plant in Mayodan and make it home to their newest gun manufacturing facility.
In his announcement Tuesday, McCrory said Ruger will create more than 450 jobs and invest more than $26 million by the end of 2017.
"These are the type of high-quality jobs that N.C. needs and it's coming at a great time," McCrory said.
Ruger CEO Michael Fifer explained, "We had a lot of criteria that we looked at, but at the end of the day it was actually a very, very easy decision. It was all strictly based on the people... everything else was icing on the cake."
"Everything else" includes incentives from the state and local government, but Ruger executives say the primary reason they chose North Carolina was because they believe it's where the strongest workforce is.
Fifer says they posted ads in newspapers across North Carolina and the number of qualified potential employees they found beat out other states.
Ruger's announcement has caused an influx of students interested in machining classes at Rockingham Community College.
"I had someone waiting outside my office at 7:30 this morning waiting for one of the two open slots we had in our machining program," said Perry Hughes, Department Chair of Career and Technical Education at RCC. "This is having a direct impact on our enrollment here at the college."
Instructor Kris Brooks added, "Our numbers have gone up pretty dramatically." Brooks says classes are over capacity and a waiting list is growing longer by the day. "It's something I see as a trend for a while," he said.
The college is even considering adding a night program to meet demand specifically for people who want to gain skills Ruger might be looking for.
Information about jobs at Ruger can be found at ruger.com. The company is not yet accepting applications from those wanting to work at the Mayodan plant, but Brooks says he knows some RCC students who attended a job fair Ruger hosted earlier this year have been contacted by the company.