A recent deal between GT Advanced Technologies and Apple Inc. has led to a new manufacturing facility in East Mesa that could bring more than 2,000 jobs to the area.
Though the location used to manufacture solar systems for First Solar Inc., the plant will now host the production of high-tech glass used in Apple products.
The $578 million deal means GT will manufacture sapphire-based materials that are used to cover home buttons, camera lenses, and screen displays for Apple right here in Mesa.
Though Apple is notorious for outsourcing their technology production to factories in Asia, the company is hoping to increase manufacturing jobs in the United States, with Mesa being the first example of that domesticated labor initiative.
This new facility will create over 700 manufacturing jobs as well as approximately 1,300 construction jobs for the state of Arizona.
“With Apple locating to the greater Phoenix region, those folks that come to work for the new facility will put money into the community and stimulate its economy,” said Michelle Kauk from the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.
“Arizona is a very business-friendly state so it is very inviting for big businesses such as Apple to come here and can pose as an incentive for other companies to expand to Arizona.”
Though the factory seems beneficial to Arizona’s economy and workforce, not all are pleased with Apple’s decision.
Krischan Mitchell, who lives in the neighborhood adjacent to the new facility on Signal Butte and Elliot Roads, said though he thinks the plant will stimulate the local economy, it could pose problems for those living nearby.
“SRP has had to build a substation behind the factory to support its machinery and that substation has needed more wiring,” Mitchell said. “So now the factory is surrounded by massive telephone poles that look absolutely terrible.”
Though not entirely up and running yet, Mitchell is already wary of the problems the facility could create for his neighborhood.
“The factory is on the smaller end of Signal Butte where there is only one lane of traffic each way,” Mitchell said. “I predict huge traffic jams once the plant is operational which would really inconvenience the locals.”