Alcoa to fund internships with $1.25M as part of 125th anniversary
Alcoa Inc. will benefit from “a once in a lifetime shift” by the auto industry toward using more aluminum in its best-selling vehicles, CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said on Monday.
“The big change is, aluminum has a leg up” on steel, Kleinfeld said in Alcoa's Corporate Center on the North Shore during the company's 125th anniversary celebration.
Though aluminum always had an advantage because of its lighter weight, “automotive firms were not ready to switch over for full-scale production, particularly with their volume cars,” he said. They are now, as they gear up to meet the government's 54.5 mpg target by 2025 with lighter-weight materials.
Alcoa, the nation's largest aluminum company, is building three plants to produce body sheet for the auto industry — in Davenport, Iowa, which will go online by the end of this year; in Saudi Arabia, to serve international and U.S. markets by 2015; and in Alcoa, Tenn., which will start production in 2016.
“That capacity is fully sold out,” though production hasn't begun, Kleinfeld said. More aluminum in high-volume vehicles “means we'll see a gigantic increase in demand for automotive material, which is a great growth story.”
Alcoa employs about 2,000 in the Pittsburgh region, including Alcoa Technical Center in Upper Burrell and Traco Co., a window manufacturer in Cranberry. Executive offices are in New York.
“This is a pretty great day for all of us,” Kleinfeld said, leading hundreds of employees, politicians and descendants of founders in singing “Happy Birthday.”
Incorporated on Oct. 1, 1888, as Pittsburgh Reduction Co., the company was founded by Charles Martin Hall and had a pilot plant in the Strip District.
At the turn of the century, aluminum was considered a “miracle metal” that weighed much less than other metals and didn't rust. Hall and his sister, Julia, discovered a method to produce the material cheaply and built the company with the help of Alfred Hunt and Arthur Vining Davis.
“Those are the giants whose shoulders we stand on. ... It's our DNA, and we never should forget,” Kleinfeld said. Hunt's descendants — Mary Caroline, Todd, Marian and Bill Hunt — showed a historical marker that will be placed on the site of the company's first plant on Smallman Street.
Kleinfeld cited recent reports that he said back up claims that aluminum can cut 40 percent of the weight from the vehicle chassis and bring total weight savings of about 10 percent, equaling 7 percent fuel efficiency savings.
In one of the reports, Lloyd O'Carroll, an analyst at Davenport & Co. in Richmond, Va., said: “We see this as the most important, transformative trend for the aluminum industry on a medium and long-term basis since the introduction of the aluminum can.”
At the kickoff event, the Alcoa Foundation announced a $1.25 million internship program for unemployed youths in eight countries. Catalyst Connection, a Pittsburgh nonprofit that helps manufacturers, will receive $125,000 under the program. It and other nonprofits will help recruit volunteers to mentor interns and share manufacturing expertise.
“To educate and train young people well is fundamental for allowing them to create their own future,” Kleinfeld said.
Alcoa executives in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Jamaica, Spain and the United Kingdom will select other nonprofit organizations with job-readiness programs to place students in internships with manufacturers.
John D. Oravecz is a Trib Total Media staff writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- FirstEnergy turns to dewatering to help solve waste issues at power plant
- Development Dimensions International leadership grooming business uses own practices
- Volkswagen to shift focus to electric, hybrid vehicles
- Starbucks tests delivery
- Southwest offers distance-based deals
- Top beer makers SABMiller, Anheuser Busch InBev to join forces to face industry challenges
- As deadline looms, Mylan pushes Perrigo shareholders to OK buyout offer
- Pa., W.Va., Ohio to coordinate efforts to attract shale-related business
- Boatman: Be proactive in planning for retirement
- Twitter to lay off 336 workers
- Further evidence of China weakness ends stock market’s win streak