Caterpillar announced Thursday it is making a $40 million investment in its North Little Rock, Ark., grader and wheel loader plant. Cat plans to add new paving equipment products to the production line in 2019, which will mean 250 new positions for assemblers, welders, mechanics, machinists, fork truck drivers, and order pickers in the next 6 to 12 months.
Cat began moving its medium-size wheel loader production from Aurora, Ill., earlier this year to the Little Rock facility, which opened in 2010.
According to Arkansas Online, Caterpillar qualified for a rebate on payroll taxes and for credits on sales and use taxes when it announced its plans to build a NLR plant in 2009. It also received $3 million from the governor's quick-action closing fund and $325,000 for training.
"The original [$3 million] agreement required Caterpillar to create and maintain 500 positions," the Arkansas Economic Development Commission said Thursday. "They did not meet the employment requirements for 2012, 2013 and 2014, and therefore had to pay back $172,200 to AEDC." Cat also did not meet employment performance goals in 2015 and 2016.
Caterpillar will sponsor a job fair at the North Little Rock plant from 8 a.m. to noon July 21. Online applications also are being accepted, and some workers could get jobs the day they're interviewed.