Rauner boasts delivery of 'economic engine' to Chicago's South Side
An "economic engine" that will create nearly 300 jobs and possibly many more in its wake took its first steps toward becoming a reality on Chicago's South Side recently.
Gov. Bruce Rauner joined Flex-N-Gate CEO Shad Khan and other state and Chicago-area officials in celebrating the announcement of the Flex-N-Gate facility.
“This is a great day for the South Side of Chicago; this is a great day for the entire state of Illinois,” Rauner said. “Today we announce 286 new, good-paying, middle-class jobs right here in the neighborhoods that need them most. Every manufacturing job creates another four jobs around it, from suppliers and from other service companies that support the men and women that will be working in this factory. This is an amazing economic engine; this is a great day.”
Khan immigrated to the United States at age 16 from Pakistan, arriving in Illinois to study engineering. He has since built a successful automotive supply company headquartered in Urbana. With the new South Side facility, Flex-N-Gate will employ more than 1,000 Illinoisans across five plants.
“The U.S. automotive industry is strong,” Khan said. “For the U.S. to be a success in the global economy, automaking must be strong, and here in Chicago it’s going to get stronger. Why? Because we’re fortunate in 2017 to have the vision and the leadership of Gov. Bruce Rauner and (Chicago) Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, who understand what an operation like Flex-N-Gate means to our neighbors … and the neighborhoods that we’re part of.”
The 288,000-square-foot facility will manufacture supplies to the nearby Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant. It represents a $30 million investment from Khan.
“Illinois is the quintessential American state, and as someone who has realized the American dream right here in Illinois, I believe that still to be true today,” Khan said.
Rauner thanked the General Assembly and the Cook County Board for having programs in place that offered Flex-N-Gate tax incentives and made the new facility possible. Cook County offered the company real estate tax breaks, and the firm benefited on a state level from the Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) program.
“Our EDGE tax credit program was a key element of being able to have Shad Khan build his factory here,” Rauner said. “We gave important tax credits through that program, and I encourage the members of the General Assembly to re-up and re-institute the EDGE credit program for the future. We don’t want to lose opportunities just like this one. It’s very important.”
Rauner also thanked Emanuel and his team, with whom the governor’s office worked. Rauner and Emanuel continue to cooperate on efforts to bring in federal funding for workforce development training, which Rauner said will contribute to growing incomes and wages for area residents.
Rauner characterized the efforts to bring the Flex-N-Gate facility to the South Side as a team effort, and praised the immense potential of the neighborhood created by its people, location and transportation infrastructure.
“We have every reason to thrive and get a lot more good companies, good factories right here in Chicago, along with good distribution facilities and transportation facilities,” Rauner said. “The reality is, metropolitan Chicago, and the state of Illinois, is the transportation hub of the United States of America. Let’s get our economy booming together. Let’s have many more successes just like this one. Let’s announce a new factory coming here to Chicago and coming to the state of Illinois every week going forward.”
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