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June 25, 2008

Governor Blagojevich Announces State’s Investment Package Keeping Thousands of Jobs in Illinois

CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich announced that Ford Motor Company today launched its new, 2009 Lincoln MKS luxury sedan at the Ford Chicago Assembly Plant, and opened its State-supported Ford / United Auto Workers (UAW) Technical Training Center.  The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) administered a more than $30 million business investment package for the Ford Motor Company, leveraging more than $200 million in private investment that allowed for the local manufacturing of the Lincoln MKS, and the retention of 2,650 full-time jobs in Illinois.
“Ford and all of its suppliers across the region are an enormous economic engine.  By investing in upgrading and modernizing its facilities, Ford has demonstrated a long-term commitment to Illinois.  We are matching that commitment with the resources to keep thousands of hardworking men and women on the job and on the cutting-edge.  We’re proving our state is ready, willing and able to invest in companies that invest in Illinois by retaining jobs for more people,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
“We are excited to be building the 2009 Lincoln MKS at the Chicago Assembly Plant,” said Joe Hinrichs, group vice president, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs.  “The industry has become increasingly competitive and we welcome the support we receive from the State of Illinois and DCEO.  The partnership helps us continue to lead the industry in creating excellent vehicles and providing employees with quality jobs and training.”
“Illinois is the perfect location for companies looking to stay ahead of the curve, and we are delighted that Ford has chosen to launch the new Lincoln MKS here.  We’ve worked closely with Ford to help ensure it can remain innovative and flexible, which is an absolute necessity in our increasingly global economy.  Our partnership with Ford and UAW not only helped launch the latest Lincoln in the Land of Lincoln, but will help keep Ford competitive,” DCEO Director Jack Lavin said.
The Ford/ UAW Technical Training Center provides employees with educational opportunities, management and technical skills, and personal development training that allow employees to perform job tasks at their maximum capacity.  The facility is utilized for the education and training of Ford/UAW employees in the use of robotic methods in high technology manufacturing processes and in other subject areas.  Ford will also allocate a minimum of 20 percent of the training facility’s usage for other local education and workforce development and training programs.  The Training Center is located at the entrance of the Ford Chicago Assembly Plant and officially opened on April 1, 2008.
The investment package included $6 million to upgrade existing facilities and construct a new Ford/UAW Technical Training Center at the Ford Chicago Assembly Plant.  In addition, the package included: $4 million in Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) job training funds that will help enhance the skills of its workforce; $2 million in funds toward infrastructure improvements; $28.5 million in Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) corporate income tax credits over the next ten years (based on job retention); and $2.5 million in Enterprise Zone additional tax credits that Ford is eligible for due its locations.
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 228,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.
Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history.  Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – each with a regional team that is empowered and expected to rapidly respond to opportunities and challenges.  Opportunity Returns is about tangible, specific actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to businesses.  It is about upgrading the skills of the local workforce, increasing the access to capital, opening new markets, improving infrastructure, and creating and retaining jobs.  Opportunity Returns is about successfully partnering with companies and communities, both large and small, to help all of Illinois reach its economic potential.


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