BY THE NUMBERS
- $1.45 billion: The planned investment by Wacker in its polysilicon plant near Charleston, Tenn.
- 650: Number of employees that Wacker plans to hire
- $64.2 million: State grant awarded last year for preparing the Wacker site and roads
- $34.6 million: State bonds and cash to be issued for further infrastructure work
- $3.1 million: Tennessee Fast Track grant for employee training
Source: Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
Wacker will conduct a career fair from 9 a.m. to noon today at the Health and Physical Fitness building at Chattanooga State on Amnicola Highway. Wacker is seeking to fill 70 lead chemical operator positions with a starting wage of $15 an hour.
NASHVILLE — A proposed $34.6 million state grant for Wacker Chemical’s plant near Cleveland, Tenn., is drawing praise from a Bradley County lawmaker.
Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, said it will make a “welcome gift” for German company’s April 8 groundbreaking ceremony.
“They have greatly increased their investment so we are reciprocating from the state by helping them with infrastructure and things needed to be done to get that site ready,” Brooks said. “I’m very grateful the state is still able to do that.”
When Wacker initially announced plans two years ago to build its polysilicon production plant for the solar power industry, the facility near Charleston was to employ 500 workers. But in December, Wacker officials announced they were expanding their investment from $1 billion to $1.45 billion and employing an additional 150 people.
Earth-moving crews are already clearing the site off of exit 33 of Interstate 75 for the Wacker facility — the second such polysilicon plant to locate in Tennessee. Hemlock Semi-Conductor is building a $1.2 billion plant near Clarksville, Tenn., to supply polysilicon for solar panels
Gov. Bill Haslam included the Wacker grant in his proposed 2011-12 budget unveiled Monday. It would provide $5.2 million in cash and $29.4 million in bonds to assist with infrastructure at the plant.
The governor also recommended a $3.1 million Fast Track training grant.
The money would come on top of a $64.2 million infrastructure grant approved last spring for Wacker.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...