Continental to bring 1,700 jobs, $500 million plant to Sumter Co.

Photo Credit: Cheryn Stone

SUMTER (WACH) -- Continental Tire has announced plans to build a $500 million plant with more than 1,600 jobs to open in Sumter County in 2017.

The announcement comes after weeks of rumors about the plant spread through the Palmetto State.

This is really a game changer for Sumter, said Mayor Joseph McElveen.

Sumter had a very high rate of industrial employment probably 28% in the last few years|we did lose some plants but this is just continuing the comeback, he added.

Continental expects to begin construction of the plant in mid-2012 and complete the facility in 2013.

Last Friday, Sumter County Council Chairman Eugene Baten said that the German tire maker planned to put the new plant in Sumter County.

The company says it's expanding to meet the growing demand for tires in the retail and manufacturing sectors.

The new facility will plan to produce eight million passenger and light truck tires annually by the completion of its initial phases.

Read more Thousands of jobs could be rolling to Sumter 100 new jobs, $10M investment coming to Orangeburg Continental Tire plans new plant in Sumter

North Carolina legislators told the StarNews of Wilmington on Tuesday that North Carolina lost a bid for the plant to South Carolina.

Governor Nikki Haley said, "let us first look at what we got, 500 million dollars invested in Sumter South Carolina, 1,700 jobs, South Carolina's commitment to do that was about 31 million all infrastructure all site prep, there were no checks that were handed over this was to make sure this is a good piece of property to be able to build this plant.

It is the second major jobs announcement this week. Haley announced Wednesday 100 new jobs would be coming to Orangeburg County, along with a $10 million investment thanks to Universal Trade Solutions Inc. and Fraley & Schilling Inc..

The manufacturing and distribution facility will take over the 110,000-square-foot Jacobs Applied Engineering building in Orangeburg County.

Final hiring for Continental is expected to be complete by 2020.

As for when people can start applying for positions, Jochen Etzel, CEO of Continental Tire the Americas explained, We are putting together the program, the training program, the selection program, and as soon as we are ready we are going out with advertisements to the market and that TMs when people can apply then.

However, critics point out that the state needs jobs right now, and these positions will be phased in over the next decade.

Bill Hauk, economist at the USC Darla Moore School of Business, said, What TMs really going to see us turn the corner is not only when some of these firms are able to get their boots on the ground and start hiring, but when the companies that are already here feel confident enough about the economic climate and the demand for their products to really start expanding their operations, that TMs when we TMll know we TMve turned the corner.

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