September 16, 2016
PANTAGRAPH (link to article)
PONTIAC — Pontiac’s Caterpillar plant has reached the halfway point of its promise to hire 160 employees by next summer.
“We have hired 80 new employees since the January announcement and have plans to hire at least 80 more employees by early 2017,” Senior Public Affairs Manager Jamie Fox said.
In January, Caterpillar announced plans to add about 160 jobs to its existing Pontiac plant as a result of company restructuring. The announcement came following an economic incentive agreement with the company and Livingston County taxing bodies, which abated property taxes as incentive for the plant to stay in the county and add jobs.
The fuel systems facility in Pontiac marked its 38th year in operation this year, but new operations will be added as part of the restructuring, said Susan Toher, product manager for the Pontiac facility.
“Our plant looks totally different than it did in January,” she said. “We’ve done a lot of construction and a lot of preparation to bring some jobs here. If you walked through the facility last year, you would not have thought we would have room. But we relocated 114 machines and we found the room.”
The Pontiac plant is about 1 million square feet, she said. The new positions include the manufacturing of subcomponents for engines for some of Caterpillar’s bigger machines.
In announcing the restructuring in January, the Peoria-based manufacturer announced that five other plants would close, resulting in a net loss of 670 jobs. However, the Pontiac plant was given a vote of confidence with the announcement that some work would be transferred in.
“Our employees are really excited and as a company, we are all working hard to be competitive, and improve our safety, overall performance, and efficiency goals,” she said. “The company sent a positive message to us and it’s great to see our employees and the community stay behind us.”
About 700 employees now work at the Pontiac plant.
“With different types of work, come more opportunities and we have seen a lot of long-time employees applying for new positions in an effort to gain some new skills,” Fox said.