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The Schaeffler Group, a Germany-based automotive supplier, established roots in the United States 40 years ago when it opened a plant in Wooster, Ohio, with six employees. That plant now has nearly 2,000 employees, making it Wooster’s largest employer.

On Nov. 1, Schaeffler team members from Germany joined their Ohio workforce, Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, industry leaders from JobsOhio and Team NEO, and community partners to celebrate both that 40-year milestone and Schaeffler’s most recent expansion in the state.

Eighteen months after announcing a $60 million capital investment to expand its facility, Schaeffler unveiled its new 91,000-square-foot addition to the plant, which will be used for manufacturing and additional office space. The expansion will create 250 jobs.

“Schaeffler’s $60 million capital investment in its Wooster facility advances our automotive business and strongly secures our position as the community’s largest employer,” said Marc McGrath, president, Automotive Americas, Schaeffler. “From 2007 to 2016, our automotive business has outpaced market growth by nearly double and we have expanded our manufacturing capacity in Wooster to keep pace with growth in our automotive transmission business.

The fully integrated facility in Wooster serves as the global center of competency for Schaeffler’s torque converter product line and is the leading facility for the development and production of Schaeffler’s e-mobility solutions in the United States. The newly renovated campus equips the Wooster team with the capacity for the production of hybrid modules, the first of many Schaeffler electrification solutions and a critical part of the company’s e-mobility strategy.

In addition to its high-tech facility, Schaeffler runs a nationally recognized apprenticeship program. The 3½-year program, the largest of its kind in Ohio, consists of both on-the-job training and courses at the University of Akron. Ninety students are currently enrolled in the program.

“We are thrilled to celebrate this major expansion and anniversary with Schaeffler,” said Wooster Mayor Bob Breneman. “They are truly a very important part of our community and continue to provide good jobs for our people.”

During the spring of 2016, JobsOhio and Team NEO worked together with local economic development partners to ensure Schaeffler chose Ohio out of several sites in North America the company was considering for the expansion of its production capabilities. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor also joined those partners for a trip to Germany to personally meet with Schaeffler executives.

“Schaeffler’s growth in Wooster from a small team to a manufacturing campus recognized worldwide has engineered the template for international business development,” Lt. Governor Mary Taylor said. “Schaeffler operates at the highest quality whether in product, people or community leadership. We are delighted to call them Buckeyes.”