Nothing grows city neighborhoods like jobs.
And new jobs, however large or small, are welcome news to residents in and around Southwest Detroit, which is poised to gain 200 jobs by the end of next year after a $7 million car manufacturer’s expansion.
Sakthi Automotive announcement that it will add 60,000 square feet to its Fort Street facility, was a part of an official groundbreaking ceremony today.
Sakthi’s CEO Lalit Verma, Mayor Mike Duggan, Peter Chapman of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., and other officials reported that the expansion will add to Sakthi’s existing facilities, which include an aluminum foundry and machining operations that supply parts to original equipment manufacturers of domestic and European cars.
“Detroit has been a very good location to grow our company, as this is our third significant investment here in the last five years,” says Verma. “It is very important to us to contribute to the communities where we invest, and we will continue our commitment to train and hire Detroiters through partnerships with Detroit Employment Solutions Corp. (DESC) and Michigan’s Community Ventures program.”
About 65 percent of Sakthi 600 employees are Detroit residents, according to the mayor’s office, a third of whom are returning citizens, whose employment the company prioritizes.
Since opening its first facility in Detroit with 75 employees in 2014, Sakthi has expanded three times.
“That says everything about the value that Detroit offers global manufacturers and the value they bring to our city,” Duggan says.
DEGC’s Peter Chapman, executive vice president for business development, cited the strength of Detroit’s workforce for the growth: “Sakthi’s experience here demonstrates why companies around the world are looking to tap into Detroit’s key assets – proximity to global customers, access to high technology manufacturing research, and a strong local workforce. Once they come to Detroit, companies want to stay and grow.”
Since opening, Sakthi has received a 15-year property tax waiver with an estimated value of more than $2 million, plus a grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund, which covered just over 10% of a previous, $31.9 million expansion. The Fund is a state board that oversees public grants, revenue bonds, community development block grant funding, and various types of enterprise zones.
Construction of the new facility is projected for completion in mid-2018.
Detroiter Corey Johnson, who was released from prison in 2016, credits Sakthi with hiring him as a machine operator. A year later he was promoted to production supervisor of 30 shift employees.
“I am very grateful to Sakthi for giving me a chance to prove what I could do,” he says. “I got great support from the company and DESC when I started, and I have really grown my skills and my experience since then.”
To apply for a position, visit www.SakthiAutoUsaDetroit.com.
Lead Image: A rendering of Sakthi Automotive’s planned Detroit manufacturing campus. Image courtesy of City of Detroit