With creating good jobs on everyone's mind, this week I was so proud to help officially open South Charleston's Gestamp stamping plant, which will create potentially hundreds of good-paying jobs for our great state.
At the event, I had the pleasure of meeting a number of workers who were unemployed or underemployed before Gestamp opened. So many of the men and women in the room were tremendously grateful for this opportunity to make a good living for their family -- and that was what the ceremony was truly all about, the workers, their families and our community.
And Gestamp is a model of what we can accomplish when we work together.
Back in 2006 when I was Governor, the company operating in the building declared bankruptcy and closed. The plant had nearly 800 workers at the peak of production. It was a devastating loss for both the employees and the community.
I've always said that government can do two things with your money -- spend it or invest it. In 2006 in South Charleston, we chose to invest it. And the investment we made truly paid off thanks to the public-private partnership we developed with Ray Park, owner of the building. Ray committed to investing $20 million toward the facility's renovation, and our administration invested $15 million.
Today, Ray has paid back every dime of the $15 million we invested and the results speak for themselves where hundreds of good jobs can come to West Virginia and a strong international company has chosen to invest at least $100 million in our success.
This was only made possible because we came together across the aisle as state and local officials to achieve this vision. The ribbon cutting is the story of how government and business can work together for the benefit of our great state and our great people.
Some people think this country can't do things like this anymore. Well, I've got a four-letter word for folks like that, and that four-letter word is J-O-B-S. As elected leaders, it is our highest priority to do all we can to help create jobs, and that's especially true with unemployment still stubbornly high.
That's why I have been so strongly pushing to rebuild America, creating good American jobs by investing in our infrastructure.
We need to get out of Afghanistan and start investing that money in building our roads, our bridges and our schools -- and in projects like this stamping plant.
The revitalization of this stamping plant shows that when we prioritize our resources, work together and build stronger relationships, we can attract world-class employers to the state of West Virginia. It's going to benefit not just South Charleston, but also our entire state.
I know that working together, we can achieve success like this again and again. Let's put our differences aside and rebuild America.