Novelis, the aluminum manufacturing plant in Oswego County, unveiled a new $120 million addition to its operation Monday. The "automotive finishing line" takes strips of aluminum through furnaces, coolers and chemicals to strengthen the metal. It was designed specifically for the 2017 Ford Super Duty truck.
Kevin Schutt, the Novelis plant manager in Oswego, said with more aluminum, trucks can increase their payload and towing capacity. It's part of an industry-wide shift toward more lightweight vehicles for superior fuel efficiency.
"It's really taking off," Schutt said. "A number of automakers are looking to be able to improve their performance so they are looking for the opportunity to lighten their automobiles and looking for aluminum to be able to do that."
Novelis is growing alongside that boom. It's injected more than $500 million into the Oswego plant over the last five years, creating 450 jobs.
"It has been growing like crazy," said engineer Teresa Santoferrara.
Novelis officials say the plant will continue adding jobs, about 250 by 2020, as they increase their volume. So, Schutt said the company is partnering with local colleges to train the next generation of engineers and technicians.
"We're working with a number of local entities, from SUNY Oswego to Cayuga Community College, looking to begin to build and retain the workforce that we need to support this operation."
That is welcome news for Oswego County, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.