A few Denton County residents have already been hired to work at a new General Electric locomotive plant that’s set to begin production in January.
The plant, which is about four miles south of Justin, is expected to produce about 250 to 300 locomotives a year and boost the local economy once it is open.
GE officials estimate the $96 million plant, located just west of Texas Motor Speedway, will employ about 500 people by the first of the year. The facility is then expected to hire another 260 employees by 2016.
“This is a great addition to the area and will contribute to our local economy,” Justin Mayor Greg Scott said. “New jobs are always a good thing.”
The facility is opening a month later than what officials expected, and employment positions are still available. Positions needed at the 900,000-square-foot plant include welders, assemblers, painters and similar skill sets.
GE officials declined to comment but referred to a company news release.
Lorenzo Simonelli, president and GE transportation CEO, said in the news release that the new site will allow the company to respond to the demands of the transportation industry, which has grown in recent years.
The company announced plans to construct the locomotive plant in May 2011.
A few months later, the company invested $95 million to add a facility to produce mining equipment. The second plant has already begun minimal production.
Applications for positions at the two GE plants can only be submitted online at www.getjobsintexas.com and the plants are located at 12850 Three Wide Drive.
The plant’s opening comes right after American Airlines announced layoffs at Fort Worth Alliance Airport last week. In a company statement, American Airlines officials said 252 workers will be laid off over the next few weeks and about 700 employees are transferring within the company.
About 230 employees took a buyout, and American plans to shut down its maintenance and engineering facility by March, according to American’s statement.
“I hate to hear that people are losing their jobs,” Scott said. “It’s a sad time, not only for Justin. There were many residents from all over the county and region who worked there.”
However, Scott said he knows of a few Justin residents who were laid off at Alliance but found jobs at GE.
“The closing of American and the opening of GE wasn’t planned to happen at the same time, but it’s fortunate that it worked out that way,” he said.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org .