Novelis is already one of the largest companies in Oswego County, employing more than 800 people. Now the company is expanding, adding even more jobs. Thursday we got a look at the expanded facility. Our Candace Hopkins tells us what made the growth possible.
OSWEGO, N.Y. -- For the past 50 years, Novelis has been manufacturing aluminum in Oswego. It's used in various products, including cars. Company officials say in just one year, the demand for automotive aluminum sheet has grown 25 percent as companies look for new ways to lower weight of vehicles.
"One of the easiest ways they can do that by taking weight out is by using more aluminum, so what we're trying to do today, and the plan strategically going forward, is to be able to make sure we can supply that demand over the long term," said Novelis Oswego Plant Manager, Chris Smith.
Novelis started the $200 million expansion in 2011. Thursday the results were unveiled. Two new finishing lines will increase the company's aluminum capacity by 240,000 tons, five times their previous rate. They say one reason their Oswego plant has continued to grow is the area's work force.
"We have people with skills, experience, of course we need to train them on our process, but they bring a base that's very good for us," said Novelis North America Senior Vice President, Marco Palmieri.
And in turn that's good for the local economy. New jobs are vital, with Oswego County's unemployment rate sitting at nearly 9 percent.
"This is a real bright spot for Oswego County and really a bright spot for New York State to have Novelis put this kind of investment into the area and to have the creation of over one hundred jobs", said State Senator Patty Ritchie.
The expansion makes Novelis Oswego the largest aluminum capacity facility in North America, with the product being used in more than 180 vehicle models.