New Prague’s biggest employer getting bigger — 80 new jobs
ST. PAUL – Chart Industries Inc., an Ohio-based manufacturer of equipment for the production, storage and end-use of hydrocarbon and industrial gases, broke ground today on a $23 million expansion project that will bring 80 new jobs to New Prague.
The company, which has been operating in New Prague since 1963 and is the city’s largest employer, plans to expand production of cryogenic equipment used for transporting and storing natural gas as a refrigerated liquid.
The company said the expansion is in response to increasing global demand for energy, the rising price of oil, and growth of the natural gas market in North America.
Plans call for Chart to build a 111,525-square-foot manufacturing facility on a 24.5-acre site adjacent to the company’s existing facility in New Prague.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) awarded a $500,000 forgivable loan for the project from its Minnesota Investment Fund in exchange for the company’s commitment to create 80 jobs within two years.
The agency will provide additional assistance of $325,000 under its Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program and up to $400,000 under its Minnesota Job Skills Partnership.
“Chart Industries has been an important business partner in New Prague for nearly 50 years, and it was crucial to keep those new jobs in the city and state,” said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips.
“South Dakota, Texas and many other states were competing to attract this expansion project,” he said.
The Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership (GREATER MSP) also played a key role in helping Chart Industries expand its manufacturing presence in New Prague.
“We are pleased that Chart Industries recognizes the world-class workforce our region offers and that Chart is adding welding, engineering and management jobs,” said Michael Langley, CEO of GREATER MSP.
Chart, which is headquartered in Garfield Heights, Ohio, has increased employment in New Prague from 338 workers to 468 workers in the past 18 months. The additional 80 workers will bring total employment in the city to 548 workers.
Sixty of the 80 new jobs are expected to be welding positions, with wages and benefits starting at about $18 an hour and climbing to about $28 an hour as workers gain additional skills and higher classifications. The other 20 jobs will be supervisory, engineering and management positions.
DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development.