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Friday, February 17, 2012

Caterpillar's Athens-area factory could create 1,400 jobs, break ground next month

Some factoids and numbers about the Caterpillar factory that Gov. Nathan Deal announced would be located on nearly 300 acres straddling Oconee and Athens-Clarke counties:

* The 1 million square-foot facility, which will build small track-type tractors and mini hydraulic excavators, will employ approximately 1,400 people by 2020. Initially, the AJC reports, it will create 800 jobs.
* Caterpillar will break ground — possibly next month, says Blake Aued of the Athens Banner-Herald — on the "mega site" near the intersection of Ga. Hwy. 316 and US Hwy. 78 called the "Orkin Site" (be sure to take a look at Aued's piece, which includes interesting, insider background on how the property was acquired)
* The company, which wants to begin operations in late 2013, plans to invest more than $200 million in the factory
* Georgia edged out South Carolina and North Carolina to land the company
* Caterpillar's moving production of the equipment from Sagami, Japan to the United States to be closer to its North American and European customers
* Logistics, including the Port of Savannah, apparently played a key role in the company's decision
* According to the governor, Georgia's QuickStart job training program was also a "major factor" in Caterpillar's decision to locate in the state: "Working through Athens Technical College, Quick Start will train Georgia workers in the full spectrum of Caterpillar’s needs — including those working in the office and production employees. Caterpillar intends to break ground in March 2012 and begin operations in late 2013. The company anticipates that the vast majority of employees at the new facility will be hired locally, and it will use the website to fill most jobs at the new facility."

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