COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — As the pandemic got underway and hospital workers clamored for PPE, Jacob Block learned that many of the needed items came from overseas and were unavailable -- leading to an epiphany: why not make them in the United States, and specifically in Ohio?
On Tuesday, he led Gov. Mike DeWine on a tour of the plant he’s building in Grove City which will make 4 billion surgical gloves each year once production gets underway later this year.
“This is just one more step forward as we take back some of the essential things here in the United States,” DeWine said.
Block, a Bexley native, got a $3.5 million grant from the state to help with the construction of American Nitrile. He praised Ohio’s business climate.
“It’s just a great place to do business, thanks to the governor, and all he’s done to make this state a business-friendly, regulatory-friendly environment,” he said.
But the governor can’t take all the credit.
Ohio is riding a national upswing of manufacturing jobs that has been going on for more than a decade. Numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show a decline in manufacturing jobs from 1979 until 2010 when an uptick began. The nation is nowhere near the 1979 peak of nearly 20,000 jobs, but it is still moving up and Ohio is benefiting.
Block said he foresees more plants like this to keep making needed materials like surgical gloves here in Ohio.
“I think there’s an opportunity to build 50 of these factories,” he said. “I don’t know why we have to buy any from Asia," Block said.