Photo: The Jenna Juice

Gov. Nathan Deal was joined this week by Gov.-elect Brian Kemp, SK innovation CEO Jun Kim, Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Commissioner Pat Wilson and Jackson County Commission Chairman Tom Crow to welcome SK innovation to Georgia and announce that the company will make a donation to education in Jackson County. In November, Deal announced SK innovation will create more than 2,000 jobs and invest over $1.67 billion in a new manufacturing plant at Commerce 85 Business Park.

“As the No. 1 state for business six times over, Georgia has become a preferred location for international industry leaders like SK innovation to access the North American market,” said Deal. “The demand for electric vehicles is on the rise both in the United States and around the world and SK innovation’s battery business is at the forefront of this rapidly growing industry. From the time I took office in January 2011 through November 2018, Georgia saw the creation of more than 818,000 net new jobs, largely as a result of investments by companies like SK innovation, our skilled workforce, strong partnerships between local governments and the state, and a low-tax business climate that is conducive to manufacturing.

“Today’s announcement reflects SK innovation’s commitment to creating social benefits through good business. Just as we appreciate such significant investments in our communities, we are deeply thankful for corporate citizens like SK innovation that are willing to invest in our collective future, not just for business, but for the good of those who call Georgia home.”

Today, leadership from SK innovation signed a memorandum of understanding to donate $60,000 to the Empower College and Career Center, a charter high school in Jackson County scheduled to begin operations in 2021. The Jackson County Development Authority (JCDA) will match this funding through its Education Matching Grant and donate $60,000 to Commerce City Schools to support S.T.E.A.M programs for all grade levels.

“SK innovation’s $1.67 billion investment will create a ripple effect for local businesses,” said Kemp. “With more than 2,000 jobs, this investment will create lasting opportunities for Jackson County – and the surrounding communities. We are grateful for companies like SK innovation who have Georgia on their mind. The future is bright for all who proudly call this state their home.”

Deal and Kemp met with SK innovation together in November to express Georgia’s current and future commitment to work closely with the company as it creates the largest single investment and job-creating project announced in the state’s history.

SK innovation, a subsidiary of the SK Group, employs more than 6,500 individuals worldwide. SK innovation started the development of lithium-ion batteries for hybrid electric vehicles in 2005 and began production in 2006. Customers for SK innovation’s battery business include Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai-Kia Motors.

“SK innovation came to Georgia because we are impressed by the spirit of innovation, passion and efforts of the government and the people of Georgia,” said Kim. “We make more than electric vehicle batteries. We look forward to creating the win-win spirit between SK innovation and Georgia. I am convinced that such initiative between us will contribute to the collaboration and development of Korea and the U.S.”

SK innovation’s new manufacturing plant will be constructed in two phases, with both phases adding approximately 1,000,000 square feet of manufacturing space and the hiring of more than 1,000 advanced manufacturing employees.

“Under Gov. Deal’s leadership, great companies such as SK innovation, now call Georgia home,” said Crow. “SK innovation has proven to be a good corporate citizen and we’re very excited to welcome SK to Jackson County, Georgia.”

“The size and scope of SK innovation’s battery facility will be unlike anything our community has seen before,” said City of Commerce Mayor Clark Hill. “In addition to its impact on the local tax base and the Commerce City Schools, SK will elevate the quality of life for the citizens of Commerce and our entire region of the state. We are so thankful that SK chose Commerce and I look forward to a great partnership with them.”

GDEcD Senior Project Manager Yoonie Kim represented the Global Commerce Division in partnership with the Jackson County Development Authority and Georgia Power in negotiations for the new manufacturing plant.

“We are thrilled that SK innovation made the decision to build their new facility in Jackson County, and furthered their commitment to the region by donating to Empower College and Career Center,” said Wilson. “We work hard to put forth a unified effort at every level in order to bring quality jobs to Georgia, and we are proud to be a part of the team that successfully brought this great company to our state.”

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