KOHLER, Wis. (AP) — The Kohler Co. expects to begin construction later this summer to expand its generator manufacturing plant in eastern Wisconsin.
Increased demand for standby power generators from residential and industrial customers in North America is driving the 80,000-square-foot expansion at its plant in the Town of Mosel, Kohler officials said. The cost of the expansion was not disclosed.
Since 2011, there have been more than 5,000 power outages affecting more than 50 million homes and businesses, according to Kohler.
The manufacturing and hospitality company, based in Kohler, also plans to add 300 jobs over the next three years in Mosel, Kohler and Saukville, according to Kohler spokeswoman Heidi Farmer.
Local officials said it was the latest sign of improving economic conditions.
"It's another great story of another area employer investing in our community," said Dane Checolinksi, director of the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation. "I think ultimately this sparks more confidence in the local economy."
The Mosel addition is the first manufacturing expansion since 2010 when the United Auto Workers Local 833 agreed to a new labor contract that created a two-tiered wage and benefits system, according to Sheboygan Press Media (http://shebpr.es/10Ki2EL ). Company executives said at the time that the new labor deal would allow Kohler to reinvest in its local production facilities rather than contracting.
The company built a 79,000-square-foot office building at its corporate headquarters in Kohler last year.