Chism looking to grow in Manatee County

Special to the HeraldOctober 21, 2013 

MANATEE -- With a little help from the state, David Chism is looking forward to expanding his 4-year-old company.

Chism, owner of Chism Manufacturing Service, has received a $31,400 performance-based grant to enable the company's 10 employees to receive training for advanced certifications. The one-year grant is funded with federal dollars and Chism is contributing $10,000.

The training will allow CMS, which produces wire and cable harnesses for companies such as Radiant Power and Veethree Electronics, to be more competitive and go after more contracts, Chism said.

"We are close to meeting the requirements. We need the certifications now for this company to grow," he said.

The South Manatee business, which moved into a new 4,800-square-foot facility June 1 on Parkland Drive, had $500,000 in revenues last year and Chism is hoping to reach $1 million by year's end.

The manufacturer designs and produces specific wired cable assemblies that go inside electronic equipment used in the boating, military and medical industries. Large military contractors such as Lockheed require its subcontractors -- some of whom are CMS clients -- to carry certain certifications.

"It is a quality control system that insures the end product will be good," Chism said.

The competitive grant was award

ed through Workforce Florida and reimburses businesses after training is completed, said Alyssa Brown, communication coordinator with the agency in Tallahassee.

"We do try and support companies that fall within targeted industries," Brown said. "Manufacturing is a sector of focus and key to our ability to grow trade and increase exports. It is a strategic area of emphasis by Enterprise Florida," the state's marketing arm.

In 2012-13, about $3 million in Incumbent Worker Training grants were given to Florida companies, she said. They spent their entire budget and were not able to meet the $8 million in grant requests. Since 2000, Workforce Florida has approved more than 1,900 grant applications and awarded about $54 million.

Brown said the average increase in salaries for trainees a year after receiving the grant is 25 percent.

Chism is expecting to hire two to five more people once training is completed.

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