Specialty chemicals maker Eastman Chemical Co. on Wednesday signaled a long-term commitment to East Tennessee with announcement of $1.6 billion plan to modernize its Kingsport, Tenn. facility
The investment will be made over the next seven years and create 300 new jobs, company and state officials said in a news release.
The so-called Project Inspire initiative will include investment in “new growth opportunities, safety and environmental projects, increased warehouse capacity, building renovations and expansion of its corporate campus,” according to a news release.
East Tennessee’s job market got a dose of good news this week when Whirlpool Corp. said it would invest $120 million to expand its Cleveland, Tenn. operation.
The company plans to build a 1 million-square-foot manufacturing plant where it will make built-in, premium cooking products. The expansion will add 130 jobs to an existing work force of 1,500 employees.
Whirlpool’s announcement is welcome news to unemployed Tennesseans. We still have a long way to go before all of the jobs lost in the recession are replaced, but progress is being made.
For more on the jobs market and why it’s not as bad as the screamers on cable TV would have us believe, check out my column on Sunday in Knoxvillebiz and the News Sentinel.
Photo: Chattanooga Times Free Press/ Mike Pare
Melissa Haynes, a Whirlpool Corp. employee, works on an oven at the company’s plant in Cleveland, Tenn.