Wacker Chemie announces $1.4B investment; 650 new jobs
Story by Amy Morrow
Eyewitness News Reporter/Anchor
CLEVELAND, BRADLEY COUNTY (WRCB) - Thursday, Wacker Chemie made it official. It is coming to Bradley County.
State leaders say the company will revolutionize the Tennessee Valley.
The investment will be more than a billion dollars and create hundreds of jobs.
The factory will produce materials for solar panels.
Wacker said Thursday it will create 650 jobs in Bradley County, which is more than originally stated.
They have also moved up the completion date to 2013.
Planners say there was never a hold up. Projects of this magnitude take time.
It's simply the process for something so complex. But no matter how long the build-up, it's on a fast-track now.
A board of directors for the German based company Wacker Chemie has given the stamp of approval.
It's time to break ground in Bradley County for a polysilicon production facility.
"It's been a long time since the initial announcement and people have been wondering when it's going to happen, if it's going to happen," says Gary Farlow.
All "if's" aside, "when" is just around the corner.
They plan to start moving equipment onto the site by the first of the year, maybe even sooner, with a completion date of 2013 and more jobs to boot.
"They're actually raising their number of jobs from the initial 500 to 650 jobs," says Farlow.
Wacker is the world's second largest producer of hyper-pure polycrystalline silicon.
The materials they produce are used to make solar panels.
Gary Farlow, President of Bradley County Chamber of Commerce, says the company will be looking to fill highly skilled technical jobs.
"Yes, chemical engineers, where people are use to handling those kinds of projects. So, it'll be more technical people," says Farlow.
Farlow says it's too early to speculate on an average salary for employees of the new Wacker or when the company will accept applications.
He does say it's not too early for folks to consider training in technical and chemical fields to give them a leg up.
Farlow also says to submit an application, go to Wacker.com.
We also know the company is contributing to an expansion at Chattanooga State Technical Community College. Some of the space is for the training of future Wacker employees.