Georgia shoe manufacturer to receive taxpayer workforce development grant for $20M expansion

(The Center Square) — Okabashi Brands, a Georgia-based shoe company, plans to invest more than $20 million over the next five years to upgrade its Gwinnett County facility.

The upgrades to Okabashi’s Buford facility will add new manufacturing lines and increase production by 100%. The company plans to create roughly 340 new jobs.

The state included Georgia Quick Start workforce training, which provides “customized, job-specific training,” as an incentive for Okabashi. The training is valued at approximately $800,000, Jessica Atwell​​, a Georgia Department of Economic Development communications specialist, told The Center Square.

“Okabashi Brands understands the future of manufacturing lies in investing in sustainable practices, giving back to the community, and elevating a skilled workforce from the ground up,” Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Commissioner Pat Wilson said in an announcement. “I am grateful to our partners in Gwinnett County and the Quick Start program for providing our Georgia companies with the support they need to succeed.”

According to its website, the material for Okabashi’s products is “vegan, cruelty-free, and 100% recyclable.” According to estimates, only about 1% of the shoes Americans wear are made in the United States.

“Okabashi Brand’s commitment to our community and its people is one that dates back to the 1980s when my grandfather chose to bring his footwear manufacturing background to Georgia,” Sara Irvani, CEO of Okabashi Brands, said in an announcement. “The support from our community has fostered our growth and has allowed us to continue producing quality, American-made footwear. We are thrilled to be contributing to the local economy through this expansion.”

This article was published by The Center Square and is republished here with permission. Click here to view the original.