Canadian company Magna International plans to invest $70.1 million and create 304 jobs with its Magna Electric Vehicle Structures facility in St. Clair’s industrial park.
On Tuesday, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Strategic Fund Board voted to grant the company $1.5 million to help offset cost related to training, recruiting, and construction for the project.
Work began on the 345,000-square-foot facility in December and the company expects to begin production in early 2022, Magna International Communications Director Linda Aubuchon said in an email.
“It’s a good feeling to have news about growth for Magna and jobs for people in SE Michigan,” she said.
What the facility will do and available jobs
Magna is a global automotive supplier that makes everything from seats to powertrains. The products it manufactures can be found on most vehicles and the company has 346 manufacturing operations, according to a MEDC memo.
The St. Clair facility will be Magna’s 25th manufacturing facility in Michigan and will build complex battery enclosures for the 2022 GMC Hummer EV.
Aubuchon said the majority of positions available will be production associates with other positions in areas like engineering, quality and human resources.
“We offer comprehensive training and development to our employees as well, so there are clear growth opportunities for people,” she said.
Wages for the newly created positions range from $17 to $48 per hour, with an average wage of $27 per hour. The company will work with local workforce development organizations to assist with recruitment efforts, according to the MEDC.
Magna has also put together an executive leadership program, which works directly with local school districts, colleges, universities and other workforce agencies to help build an employment pipeline strategy.
The company is actively recruiting for positions and people can apply at www.magna.com/careers. Some jobs can also be found on the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County’s website.
How Magna came to St. Clair County
Aubuchon said the company initiated discussions with the MEDC early in 2020 regarding potentially selecting St. Clair as its new plant site.
The site-selection process involves many factors, including project needs and merits of potential locations. Several states and communities were evaluated for the plant, she said.
“As part of the selection process, we consider our previous experience in the states and communities under consideration and evaluate economic development incentive offers,” she said. “The process was extremely competitive and, ultimately, we selected St. Clair, Michigan.”
According to the MEDC, while Magna remains committed to Michigan, incentive assistance was necessary to make the Michigan expansion a competitive decision.
In addition to the $1.5 million in funding, St. Clair anticipates approval of a real property tax abatement in support of the project. The MEDC also authorized a State Education Tax abatement to be used in conjunction with the locally approved abatement and St. Clair County Community College is offering support through the Michigan New Jobs Training Program.
Josh Hundt, MEDC executive vice president and chief business development officer, said the grant amount is in the range of an average incentive for this type of project.
When granting funds the MEDC evaluates different elements, like a project’s need for incentives and the strength of the jobs and wages paid.
Hundt said the organization felt like this was an important project that’s creating well paying, sustainable, long-term jobs in the St. Clair County area.
Local officials said there were a couple different factors that brought the company to the area. EDA CEO Dan Casey said if the St. Clair site hadn’t been ready for development, it wouldn’t have won the project.
“Literally this property was ready to go, go, go,” St. Clair County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jeff Bohm said, and joked officials have been trying to get rid of it for 20 years.
St. Clair Mayor Bill Cedar said when companies like Magna come to the area there are so many moving parts and they put a great foot forward to meet the company.
They got things done quickly and efficiently and the company appreciated that, he said.
“Better roll out the red carpet to make these things happen …” Bohm said.
Hundt said from a statewide perspective the Magna project is important as it demonstrates how Michigan is a leader in advancing technology in the auto industry and how it will continue to be a leader moving forward.
“A project like this will positively impact supply chain and make an attractive environment to locate future mobility projects in Michigan,” according to the MEDC memo.
Bohm said the company is estimated to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes, a “big bag of money showing up on the doorstep,” he said.
Over the years local officials have seen people leave the area looking for work, and these jobs Magna creates will be “damn good jobs” people will move to the community for, Bohm said.
“It’s going to bring some people back home,” he said.
Casey said there will be hundreds of robots in the facility that will need people to program them and set them up. It’s exciting what it will bring to the county and enhance the existing training in the growing automation industry.
“That’s the future,” he said. “That’s where we’re going.”
He doesn’t think it’s a coincidence more housing developments have started work again and been announced in the area with the plant development. There is a “spin off” effect of projects like this with a new tax base and new jobs. These jobs will lead to more jobs in the area, Casey said.
“There’s no down sides, let’s put it that way,” Bohm said.
Cedar said this project has the potential to be a really positive thing for the whole area.
It brings good jobs to the area that will hopefully keep and bring young families here, raise the school populations, and these families will come and spend their money and visit local business.
“Those are good things to keep your economy going,” he said.
Contact Bryce Airgood at (810) 989-6202 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @bairgood123.
This article originally appeared on Port Huron Times Herald: Canadian company Magna to invest $70.1 million in St. Clair facility, create over 300 jobs