Officials from General Electric joined a bevy of elected leaders Monday to break ground on a $100 million plant that will eventually produce jet engines.
The GE Aviation facility is slated to open by 2016 and could start hiring workers as soon as next year.
Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski insists because it located in his city, GE won’t face the same dearth of qualified workers many companies are grappling with.
“Two hundred jobs is a great start,” Roswarski says. “You’ve got to remember those are 200 jobs at $75,000 apiece. You may get a large investment that created 300 or 400 jobs at $25 an hour or $40,000 or $50,000 a year. These are very high-paying jobs, well above our county’s average.”
A number of speakers suggested Purdue University graduates could fill positions as they come open. Purdue President Mitch Daniels likened his graduates to players available for drafting onto a new sports team coming to town.
“It’s a staple of sports talk radio – they’ll say ‘if you were starting a team with one player…’ and everybody calls in. Well, for my money, if you were starting a community or an economy with one company in the world, I can’t name one I would rank above GE,” Daniels says.
GE Vice President Tony Aiello says the city should recognize just how often his company invests that kind of money.
“I was telling the governor earlier, I’ve been with GE 28 years and this is the first site I’ve had the opportunity to open," he says. "That’s how infrequently we do this, so it is truly a special occasion.”
GE will produce its next generation aircraft engine, known as “Leap” at the Lafayette facility.
Aiello says GE already has orders for 7,500 of those engines on its books, even though the first one won’t take to the skies for another two years.