Shift Changes: New high-tech battery plant powers up Jacksonville workforce
The new plant is the result of a partnership between Saft America and the U.S. Department of Energy, which helped fund the new facility. The factory, which Saft Groupe CEO John Searle calls “the most modern, state-of-the-art automated facility in the world,” will produce lithium-ion batteries used to store renewable energy. Saft batteries are used to power smart grid, telecommunications and defense projects throughout the U.S.
In addition to creating batteries that will power high-tech projects, the plant will also create something that will provide a welcome boost to the Jacksonville community: jobs. According to the Jacksonville Business Journal, the plant has already hired about 100 people and expects to employ 277 once it’s fully operational.
During the grand opening of the new Saft America plant last week, Florida elected officials praised the private-public partnership that resulted in the new high-tech, job-creating facility. As Rep. Corrie Brown (D-FL) put it, "This is the type of private-public partnerships I've been focused on for the past two years. Government can't do it alone.”
The new Saft battery facility in Jacksonville is a great example of the good that can come from public-private partnerships aimed at improving local industrial sectors. The job-creating power of such partnerships could be replicated on a national scale if Congress were to adopt a comprehensive national manufacturing strategy like the one the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) has outlined here. The implementation of national manufacturing strategy would provide improve our manufacturing base, create American jobs, and help more companies Keep it Made in America.
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