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Manufacturing plant highlighted by Obama, Alcoa, plans eastern Iowa expansion

An Iowa manufacturing plant recently highlighted by President Obama will take advantage of a state economic development package to launch a $300 million expansion of its rolled aluminum product offerings, creating an estimated 150 permanent jobs.

Alcoa, the world’s leading producer of primary and fabricated aluminum, will expand it’s rolled products plant in Bettendorf, known as Alcoa Davenport Works, to coincide with supply demands from the automotive market. The company is projecting a doubling of its automotive sheet volume by the end of 2013 based on a Ducker Worldwide study of automakers indicating that the industry will increase its use of aluminum from 327 pounds in 2009 to 550 pounds in 2025.

“Consumers want cars that are more fuel efficient and deliver the same, if not better, performance as they are accustomed to today,” said Helmut Wieser, executive vice president of Alcoa and group president of Alcoa Global Rolled Products. “Practically every [original equipment manufacturer] in the world has come to us to discuss how our leading technology solutions can help them make their cars stronger, lighter and more fuel efficient.”

Wieser added that although much of the expansion has already been taken up by earlier secured business agreements with automakers, he continues to see more opportunities for additional future growth.

According to information provided by Gov. Terry Branstad‘s office, the Davenport expansion will create an additional 150 full time jobs once completed, and 150 more temporary jobs during the construction phase. It is expected to be complete by the end of 2013.

The state’s economic development package, offered through the Iowa Department of Economic Development, includes tax, financing and research and development credits as well as training grants for the Davenport workforce and new employees.

“Alcoa has been a great Iowa partner, and we are excited to see this expansion in Bettendorf,” said Branstad. “Their commitment to creating jobs in our state is appreciated, and coincides with my administration’s commitment to economic growth in Iowa.”

President Obama visited the facility in March as part of a roll-out of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, an initiative aimed at encouraging and developing high-tech American manufacturing by bringing together industry, academic and federal officials.

“I see an America where people don’t give up, where people don’t quit. I see companies like Alcoa where reinvention is a part of life,” Obama said in June.

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