About 1,800 new jobs will be coming to the Chrysler plant in Northwest suburban Belvidere, Gov. Pat Quinn announced Thursday with Chrysler's CEO.
Chrysler Group LLC invested $700 million to expand the plant and open a 638,000-square-foot body shop to support production of the new Dodge Dart beginning in the second quarter of 2012, Quinn said.
It's part of a business investment package Quinn announced in 2010 to support the creation of the 1,800 jobs. The plant currently produces the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot.
“The auto industry is essential to growing our economy," Quinn said. "Illinois automakers and their suppliers are thriving today because we have helped meet their needs."
The investment package includes EDGE tax credits, job-training funds and Large Business Development Program funds for capital improvements, he said.
“The Rock River Valley has emerged as a strong leader in the transportation industry, and Chrysler has undoubtedly played a major role in building that reputation,” said Warren Ribley, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which is administering the package.
Jobs were a big part of the governor's State of the State address Wednesday. He said Illinois is adding jobs because of the state's skilled workforce, noting the second shift added by Ford in 2010 and current third-shift hiring.
"To create jobs and grow our economy, we must continue to invest in Illinois and help everyday people," he said.
In a press statement sent Thursday, Quinn noted that Illinois added more than 52,000 jobs in 2011 and nearly 100,000 jobs since 2010.