MARION, Ind. — General Motors will invest $91 million over the next several years at the Marion Metal Center, officials announced Monday.
The investment will bring plant technology and procedures in line with stamping plants "of the future." GM's investment will go toward updating the existing equipment at the 2400 W. Second St. campus, with expansion expected to start this year. Installation of new equipment is expected to be finished by 2017.
“Excitement obviously, gratitude; Marion has struggled financially in recent years,” said Marion City Councilman Alan Miller (R - Ward Two).
GM says the Marion plant, established in 1956, supplies stampings and sheet metal assembly for cars, vans, trucks and SUVs to GM assembly plants throughout North America. The Marion facility employs about 1,100 people.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered GM up to $100,000 in training grants based on the company's economic development plans. Grant County approved additional incentives at the request of the Grant County Economic Growth Council.
“We’re very thankful; at the same time we’re going to continue to work to protect jobs,” said Ryan Hiestand, the Shop Chairman at the plant.
Not dime of the $91 million GM is pouring into the plant will go towards hiring additional workers. Still though, the investment is seen to many as providing job security.
“We’re going to continue to try to show GM that we’re capable of doing anything that they throw at us, all we need is the opportunities,” said Hiestand.
“Work will be going on behind the scenes and inside the plant to get ready and when the products are ready to be released, we’ll be there for them,” said Tom Gallagher, Marion’s Plant Manager.
“The General Motors plant has been here for sixty years; the employment has actually been reduced over the years but I believe the production has increased,” said Miller.
GM’s Marion stamping plant wasn’t always seen as so successful though. Before the recession, more than 3,000 people were employed there. Today, that number is cut in than half, 1,150 people work there.
The Marion plant survived layoffs and while plants in Michigan and Ohio closed, it managed to keep its doors open. Now, with changing times and a recovering economy, the longtime community staple has become a new source of hope.
“Just an investment in the future of the plant is certainly more than enough and appreciated by the community,” said Miller.