As the economy begins to strengthen, it is important for Northwest Indiana to focus on leveraging current partnerships and creating new ones that will enhance the region's competitiveness in the global marketplace.
ArcelorMittal aims to be a world-class manufacturer while maintaining its connections to the local communities in which we operate. We focus this vision through our values of Sustainability, Quality and Leadership. Each value is reflected through strategic partnerships we have built and continue to nurture in Northwest Indiana.
Over the past two decades, the steel industry has evolved as part of the fabric of this community. We melt, produce and process steel at four locations in this region - ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor, Indiana Harbor in East Chicago, Riverdale, 111., and ajoint venture, liN Tek and liN Kote, in New Carlisle - totaling $750 million in annual payroll. We also maintain a Global Research and Development (R&D) Center in East Chicago.
An economic engine, ArcelorMittal continues to fuel the local community with jobs - more than 10,000 of our U.S. employees call Northwest Indiana home. Last year, our employees were offered a new opportunity to have their charitable gifts matched with corporate dollars. Through this new employee giving program and our annual corporate donations, ArcelorMittal invested nearly $3.2 million in Northwest Indiana non-profit organizations, including the American Red Cross, schools in Lake and Porter counties, and Shirley Heinze Land Trust. We will continue to forge community partnerships through both corporate philanthropy and employee volunteer work.
Like most manufacturers, the steel industry's evolution has been marked by changes in technology. Northwest Indiana represents a hub of innovation for ArcelorMittal. In East Chicago we have more than 200 employees at one of our Global R&D Centers. However, innovation doesn't begin or end at R&D. All of our employees are encouraged to be innovators each day as we now face global competition in what is no longer our grandfather's steel industry.
One recent example is the launch of S-in motion, a portfolio of new applications for Advanced High-Strength Steels (AHSS), which demonstrates our aim to be the supplier of choice for automakers - both locally and globally. When combined, these steels have the potential to deliver a 19 percent weight reduction in vehicles. These weight savings ensure safety while also decreasing greenhouse gas emissions when you consider the vehicle's entire Iifecycle - from production to recycling at end of life. ArcelorMittal is proud to be at the forefront of developing and producing many of these AHSS products here in Northwest Indiana.
As a result of new technologies and products like S-in motion, today's steel facilities require highly-skilled, tech-savvy workers with innovative ideas and creative solutions to on-the-job challenges. To grow its skilled workforce, ArcelorMittal and the United Steelworkers (USW) have expanded its Steelworker for the Future program since the launch in 2008. The two-and-a-half year program includes a targeted curriculum from our community college partners - Ivy Tech and Prairie State - and is paired with hands-on internships at our plants.
Most notably, we are now hiring workers who have completed the program and have more than 80 students currently participating in Steelworker for the Future. We aim to increase program participation in 2011 and are expanding the model to other U.S. communities.
Similarly, we continue to build strong relationships with 11 leading Midwest universities through our Campus Partnership Program, including four in Indiana - Indiana, Purdue, and Purdue Calumet Universities, and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Our support of these schools has allowed us to build relationships with faculty, staff and students. In addition to funding key initiatives, we have employees directly involved with university projects and who serve on advisory boards. The relationships we have built with local community colleges and regional universities attest to ArcelorMittal's investment in educating the community's future workforce.
Our employees focus on continuous improvement at our plants each day. Two recent energy projects demonstrate how these ideas, with support from government agencies, can attract corporate investment in initiatives that might not move forward during challenging economic conditions. This support is necessary to ensure our Northwest Indiana facilities can continue to compete on a global level.
In 2010, ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor broke ground on its Energy Recovery & Reuse Project which will preserve 5,900 direct and 26,800 indirect skilled workers. This significant undertaking was made financially possible through a $31.6 million grant from the Department of Energy using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. Once complete, the project will allow the plant to generate electricity from previously flared blast furnace gas - the equivalent to power 30,000 homes a year - increasing our sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to this investment, our ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor facility recently received government support for an energy improvement project through the state of Indiana's Conserving Hoosier Industrial Power (CHIP) program. The funds will be used to reduce energy use by 64 percent at a large, high-energy use fan system in the finishing area of its operations.
Partnerships provide the platform necessary for Northwest Indiana to compete and grow. The nature of our product - steel - relies on strength as a primary characteristic. Together with our employees, the USW, local and federal government and business and community leaders, we will continue to strengthen partnerships that create a sustainable and prosperous future for Northwest Indiana.