Georgia Footwear Manufacturer Receives Taxpayer Human Development Grant for $20 Million Expansion | Georgia

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

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

As an incentive for Okabashi, the state of Georgia included Quick Start Workforce Training, which offers “tailored, job-specific training.” The training is worth about $800,000, Jessica Atwell, a communications specialist with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, told The Center Square.

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

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

“Okabashi Brand’s commitment to our community and its people dates back to the 1980s when my grandfather decided to bring his shoemaking background to Georgia,” said Sara Irvani, CEO of Okabashi Brands, in an announcement. “The support of our community has fueled our growth and allowed us to continue producing quality, American-made footwear. We are excited to contribute to the local economy through this expansion.”

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