GE Plant Taking Training, Tech to Next Level

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Plant Manager Eric Matteson says the facility will feature employees trained in a "self-directed" environment. Plant Manager Eric Matteson says the facility will feature employees trained in a "self-directed" environment.

The new $100 million GE Aviation plant in Lafayette is welcoming its first employees this week. Plant Leader Eric Matteson says the "facility of the future" not only features cutting-edge technology, but a unique approach to training employees. He says the company has worked closely with Purdue University and other institutions to not just develop next generation workers and enhance research and development efforts. Production is set to begin January 1 and Matteson tells Inside INdiana Business the market for the LEAP engine is "exploding."

It will be completed in around a year and a half and will be the company's first final assembly plant in the state. The facility could employ 200 Hoosiers by 2020. Those workers, Matteson says, will be grouped into teams of around 15 to "own the process" of building engines through a "self-directed teaming" process designed to improve the flow each day. He says GE Aviation will also work with Purdue and Ivy Tech Community College to train the "right" talent for the plant. Matteson says this approach gives the operation an advantage.

As part of parent company General Electric's (NYSE: GE) push to align more with colleges and universities, GE Aviation has also launched a research and testing facility in South Bend. The $36 million investment involves major collaboration with the University of Notre Dame and is located at Ignition Park. It is expected to employ up to 60 workers by the end of 2018, paying an average annual salary of $79,000.

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