New fiber optics micro-factory opens in Aurora
The state of Illinois and the City of Aurora recently joined viaPhoton in announcing the opening of its first hyperlocal fiber optics micro-factory in Aurora.
Leveraging Industry 4.0 technology, viaPhoton's new factory will build and supply fiber optic solutions for data centers and 5G infrastructure across the state.
The company's investment in Illinois will help expand access to fiber connections that will enable thousands of megawatts of data center capacity to go online as well as supporting efforts by the Pritzker administration to increase access to high-speed broadband and create new jobs for Illinois communities.
"Manufacturing has been a cornerstone of the Illinois economy for generations, providing high-quality job opportunities for residents across the state," said Gov. JB Pritzker. "I am pleased to welcome viaPhoton to their new home in Aurora and to continue building on the state's strong legacy of utilizing technology to expand access to needed services while prioritizing community investment and job creation."
The new 25,000 square foot micro-factory and lab in Aurora, at 2640 White Oak Circle, was selected by the company for its proximity to highly skilled talent, and location in Illinois -- one of the nation's fastest growing data center markets. The development of this manufacturing location presents a unique opportunity for Illinois to create jobs in this highly specialized field, as the majority of fiber optic materials today are manufactured overseas.
"We are very excited and proud to leverage advanced manufacturing technology to bring high-quality, good paying jobs back to the US and Chicagoland region," said Baber Abbas, CEO of viaPhoton. "viaPhoton will create domestic security of supply for fiber optics, which is a critical component in building a 21st century economy. Our customer first approach to manufacturing and our role as a disruptor in the fiber optics and 5G space will create jobs here in the US. We are thrilled to partner with the State of Illinois to advance our shared goals of expanding digital infrastructure, preparing our local workforce for the jobs of the future, while putting Illinois back on the manufacturing map."
The new viaPhoton factory represents an initial $5 million investment by the company, with hiring underway for 30 new positions initially, and a goal to hire up to 200 more companywide in the next three to five years.
Working with local workforce partners, viaPhoton is also developing new apprenticeship training programs which will focus on three areas of apprenticeship training: engineering, customer service/sales and machine operations. viaPhoton initially plans to bring 8-12 apprentices onboard to receive on-the-job training, making them eligible to earn higher wages as they learn new skills.
"We are excited to welcome viaPhoton to Aurora," said Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin. "As Aurora continues to transition from the City of Lights to the City of Light Speed, viaPhoton underscores the significance of Aurora's ideal location as a technology hub. We look forward to an impactful relationship with viaPhoton as we bring new talent and technologies to our city and state."