Purdue, Lafayette thrilled with GE Aviation jobs announcement

Published: .
Updated: .

GE Aviation plans to build a nearly $100 million manufacturing plant in Lafayette, with plans to hire over 200 workers in the coming years.

With 1,200 Purdue graduates working for GE and 400 of those working in GE Aviation, Wednesday's announcement just seemed to make sense.

"No company hires more Purdue graduates than GE and I'm told no university supplies more new employees to GE than Purdue," said Purdue University President Mitch Daniels.

Indiana has a strong manufacturing base and Purdue has a strong engineering and aviation history, which resulted taking flight into the world of aviation jet engine manufacturing.

It was certainly good news for two potential employees.

"We have a great aviation program, let alone our aeronautical engineering technology. It's a good school. We produce good students, so why wouldn't they?" said Emily Thomas, Purdue junior.

"I think it's really exciting that a big company like that is going to be right in our backyards for students and the community to be able to be a part of. I think it's awesome," said Bridget Stanley, Purdue senior.

The product is an engine called the LEAP, and it will be assembled in Lafayette.

"We've already sold 6,000 of these engines and we don't deliver the first one until 2016. So we are kind of in a hurry," said David Joyce, GE Aviation president and CEO.

That means breaking ground for a new $100 million engine assembly plant this year and hiring next year.

"That is a decision for thirty to forty years because it will be in production for the next 30 years, starting in 2016," said Joyce.

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski was quick to point out the estimated 220 $75,000-a-year jobs are the kind you can raise a family on. It also adds to Indiana's prestige as the number-one advanced manufacturing state in the nation.

"When they had a lot of places to go, they chose Indiana and that will continue to strengthen our hand and keep us growing," said Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN).

This coup is not without cost. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has ponied up $4.3 million in conditional tax credits if job promises are fulfilled and infrastructure assistance and $332,000 in training grants.