Universal Logistics on July 3 announced plans to add adding up to 130 jobs and $17 million in new annual payroll. The company also aims to invest nearly $25 million in new equipment and real estate improvements at its properties on Fogwell Parkway in Fort Wayne as it ramps up its local operations, thanks in large part to a growing relationship with its primary customer., according to a Greater Fort Wayne statement.

Locally, the Michigan-based company currently employs about 225 people.

Universal Logistics will also build a holding yard of about 10 acres on Fogwell Parkway to house its new transportation assets, as well as a dispatch operations office structure.

Universal Logistics plans to hire CDL truck drivers, as well as diesel and trailer mechanics, logistics professionals, and administrative employees. Truck drivers will have workweeks of 5-6 days with competitive compensation packages, plus a $10,000 sign-on bonus and new-model equipment. With all routes local and regional, drivers can be home daily with fixed start times, according to the statement.

Universal has also partnered with Ivy Tech on its unique “Dock to Driver” program. In this program, warehouse associates can continue their employment while going to school to earn their CDL A from Ivy Tech. Associates can then gain local driving experience as trainees, driving alongside veteran Smith-certified company driver trainers. The company pays the full tuition and training time for the student/employee.

A Universal Logistics hiring event will be held 8 a.m.-noon July 13, at Northeast Indiana Works’ WorkOne Northeast career center, 201 E. Rudisill Blvd. in Fort Wayne. Interested applicants may also learn more and apply online at DriveUniversal.com or Universal Logistics' careers page.

Universal Logistics operates in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Colombia, serving a variety of industries including aerospace, automotive, energy, government services, healthcare, industrial, retail and consumer goods and metals. In total, the company employs more than 5,000 full-time associates in North America and Colombia.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Universal Logistics up to $1.35 million in conditional tax credits. These incentives are performance-based, meaning that until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. Northeast Indiana Works will provide the company with additional hiring and training assistance. The Allen County Board of Commissioners also supports the project.
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