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Ford hiring 450 more, investing $50 million more at Chicago Assembly Plant

Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant in Hegewisch.

Ford is expanding its workforce again at the Chicago Assembly Plant on the banks of the Calumet River, just across the state line in Hegewisch on Chicago's far South Side.

Fresh off a $1 billion investment that resulted in 500 more jobs at the 95-year-old factory that once made the Model T, Ford announced another round of hiring.

"Aiming to keep up with strong demand, Ford is investing $50 million and adding 450 more jobs to create an incremental assembly line near Chicago Assembly Plant," Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said. "This additional line will allow Ford to build certain configurations of Ford Explorer, Lincoln Aviator and Police Interceptor SUVs to get them to our customers more quickly and with the quality our customers expect."

Ford shut down the Chicago Assembly Plant and Chicago Stamping Plant in Chicago Heights for a month this spring, while investing $1 billion in a massive overhaul so it can make the all-new 2020 Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor Utility, the new 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Hybrid SUV and the Lincoln Aviator. Upgrades included 3D printers, error-proofing tools and 600 more industrial robots on the assembly line, including welding machines.

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The additional jobs will be at the police modification center where workers turned the Ford Explorer into the Police Interceptor Utility and the defunct Ford Taurus into the discontinued Police Intercept Sedan.

"We will be moving what is currently the police modification center to another building nearby and converting it to build the Ford Explorer Hybrid, Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring plug-in hybrid and all configurations of Police Interceptor SUVs," Felker said. "We are converting 450 temporary workers in Chicago to full-time employees and will be back-filling those 450 temporary positions. They will all be working on the final assembly of these vehicles."

Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford now employs about 5,000 auto workers at the Chicago Assembly Plant, another 1,200 at the Chicago Stamping Plant. The company recently entered contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers union in which both sides say they want to preserve jobs in the United States.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.