GE plans to hire 5,000 veterans

The 400 are part of 12,000 new workers GE said it will hire within the next five years. The new hires will include 5,000 U.S. military veterans.

GE also said it will spend $580 million on plants and equipment in the Dayton area and elsewhere to expand its GE Aviation unit.

To help boost veteran hiring, GE is teaming with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to sponsor at least 400 job fairs for veterans as part of the chamber’s “Hiring our Heroes” initiative.

“That’s good news,” said Mike McKinney, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Veterans Services and himself an Army veteran. “We’re happy to see GE make that commitment. It’s the type of thing we’d like to see from a lot of companies in Ohio because certainly we have a lot of veterans that need employment.”

Veterans of recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, climbing as high as 15 percent in Ohio last year, according to a Congressional study. By comparison, the overall unemployment rate in the U.S. and Ohio has hovered just more than 8 percent in recent months.

GE unveiled the veteran hiring initiative at the beginning of a four-day meeting it is hosting in Washington, D.C., to promote innovation and U.S. competitiveness.

Most of the new GE Aviation jobs will be manufacturing jobs spread across the country, said spokesman Rick Kennedy.

“I can’t say there are going to be 30 (jobs) in Dayton and 20 in Cincinnati,” Kennedy said. “We haven’t broken it down like that. It (hiring) is going to be across all of our operations, and we have 55 operations within GE Aviation across the United States.”

Those operations include the new Electrical Power Integrated Systems Research and Development Center at the University of Dayton, which will add between 100 and 200 workers over the next several years, Kennedy said.

“It’s going to be a major piece of what we’re doing,” he said, referring to the $51 million, 120,000-square-foot center that will bring GE and university researchers together to design and test electric power systems and controls. Construction began last April, and the facility is to start operating next year.

Kennedy noted the company has already made a strong commitment to Ohio, adding about 100 new workers in the Dayton area during the past year at its Unison electrical and mechanical component manufacturing plant in Beavercreek and its GE Aviation Systems electric power operation in Vandalia. The plants employ about 1,250 total workers.

GE employs about 7,500 in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

GE Aviation, which has 25,000 U.S. workers and reported revenues of $18.8 billion last year, is boosting hiring and spending on plants and equipment primarily to meet the projected demand for commercial and military aircraft engines. Production is expected to grow from 3,000 engines last year to about 3,800 in 2013.

“We are firing on all cylinders,” David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation said in a news release. “Our new-product development efforts and current product deliveries are at historic levels. We are a global enterprise with operations worldwide, but our expanding business has driven the investment in U.S. plants and equipment.”

In addition to Ohio, GE Aviation’s investment in its U.S. operations will include:

  • A 300,000-square-foot factory in Ellisville, Miss., to manufacture advanced composite components for jet engines and aircraft systems. The facility will begin operating in 2013, and is expected to create 250 manufacturing jobs by 2016.
  • A 300,000-square-foot factory in Auburn, Ala., to produce advanced machined parts for commercial and military engines. Limited hiring begins next year. GE’s goal is to employ 300 to 400 people when the plant is at full production later this decade.
  • An airfoils facility in Greenville, S.C., that will add 100 jobs between now and 2013.

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2437.

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