In an effort to locate talented workers, Cole Machine and Mfg. Co., a manufacturer of plastic injection molds, has moved to Grants Pass, Ore.
The company, which had been based in Oakridge, Ore., recently opened a new, 10,500-square-foot plant on a 11/2-acre industrial park site, said owner Harold Cole. The new plant is in southern Oregon, about 150 miles from Oakridge.
The firm invested $450,000 in the new building. The mold shop also purchased four new computer numerically controlled machining centers in 1996 to prepare for the move, Cole said. Construction began in June 1996, and the firm moved into the new site in October.
It was difficult for the company, which specializes in molds for electronic parts, to find skilled labor in Oakridge, Cole said. That 9,000-square-foot site, which opened in 1990, was too far from local community colleges, he said.
``We wanted to start a second shift to quickly manage larger projects and combat the tooling jobs being sent to the Pacific Rim,'' Cole said. ``But the type of labor we needed wasn't available [in Oakridge]. Now, we're closer to a community college that offers a high-tech course related to plastics. We hope to draw apprentices from there.''
Cole has 20 employees in its mold-making plant, which also includes several electric discharge machining centers, CNC machines and a wire EDM.
The family-owned firm, founded in Paradise, Calif., makes molds for computer products, drawing from a customer base in that state's Silicon Valley, and from Oregon and Washington. The company also makes tooling for sporting goods and other consumer products.