CHICAGO – October 21, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today highlighted a $5 million federal stimulus grant to Funk Linko, a Chicago Heights manufacturer that is retooling its equipment to produce low-emission and high-speed rail locomotives, and wind energy components. Funk Linko and its partners, Microtech Machine Company and the National Railway Equipment Corporation (NREC), have created 88 jobs to date and expect to create a total of 250 new Illinois jobs by February 2012.
“Creating jobs is priority number one,” said Governor Quinn. “I salute Funk Linko and its partners for taking advantage of the state’s Green Industry Business Development Program to create good manufacturing jobs and advance renewable energy and high-speed rail in Illinois.”
Funk Linko (formerly Funk Forging) has designed and fabricated commercial sign and light poles since 1925. The woman-owned business is utilizing the stimulus grant to retool its existing steel mill equipment to produce low-emission freight and high-speed rail locomotives, and components for wind power generation. The project will contribute to Illinois' Renewable Portfolio Standard by producing wind turbine parts and equipment.
The funding is being provided through the state’s Green Industry Business Development Program. The program is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and supports the retooling of Illinois’ traditional manufacturers to take advantage of the fast-growing green economy.
The grant was awarded earlier this year. To date, the companies have been preparing to upgrade their production capabilities by ordering new equipment, making initial hires and finalizing necessary contracts. Starting today, the companies will be upgrading their facilities to launch production of rail locomotive and wind energy components.
“At Funk Linko we are committed to growing the rail and renewable energy industries in Illinois,” said Funk Linko CEO Vicky Linko. “I’m grateful to the Governor for making this investment and creating green jobs.”
Governor Quinn also highlighted today’s announcement that Illinois’ unemployment rate fell again in September, countering the national trend. The seasonally adjusted rate fell -0.2 points to 9.9 percent in September, while the national unemployment rate remained unchanged. Illinois has added 50,700 jobs this year and the state’s economy has grown at a rate of 0.9 percent, nearly twice the rate of the national economy.