CLEVELAND -- The Olympics put the spotlight on a steel company with strong Cleveland ties.
Arcelor Mittal now employes some 1,850 people at its Cleveland steel works, and is the company behind Orbit, the colossal piece of public art on the grounds of the Olympic Games in London.
"We're very proud of it," says Eric Hauge, Vice President and General Manager of Arcelor Mittal in Cleveland. "It also includes steel from every continent we have operations in."
The company, based in Luxembourg, provided the steel, the egineering, and most of the funding for Orbit. Although Cleveland employees were not directly involved, they believe it helped put their company more in the public eye.
"Arcelor Mittal in Cleveland now is probably at the strongest point it's been in many years," says Hauge. "We were completely shut down in the crisis of '08 and '09, but since then we have been building up."
"In fact, we're improving to the point where we started up our last facility here in May and hired up to 195 people this year for those additional operations."
Lakshmi Mittal, the multi-billionaire chairman and CEO of the steel company, and the main financier behind Orbit, has visited the Cleveland works and has been very impressed with what he's seen.
"We met with Mr. Mittal in May to talk about this line in particular, the advances we've been making," Hauge disclosed during a tour of the operations. "Right now it is the most productive line in Arcelor Mittal."
Increased production means more jobs, and Arcelor Mittal has been working with education institutions including Lakeland Community College and Cuyahoga Community College to train future workers for high-tech steelmaking jobs.
"This is the most exciting part of the business where we can go out and hire new people coming in," Hauge told WKYC. "We struggle to find skilled craftsmen. This is a big commitment we're making to students, to offer them paid internships."
"It shows that we have a future. Steel is strong in Cleveland."
Possibly ready to go into Orbit.