Apple invests $200 million in Corning

Published 1:30 am Saturday, May 13, 2017

Editor’s note: Some information for this story was taken from a news release from Apple. 

HARRODSBURG — In a news conference Friday afternoon in Harrodsburg, Apple announced Corning Incorporated will receive $200 million from Apple’s new Advanced Manufacturing Fund as part of the company’s “commitment to foster innovation among American manufacturers.” The investment will support Corning’s R&D, capital equipment needs and state-of-the-art glass processing. 

Corning’s 65-year-old Harrodsburg facility has been integral to the 10-year collaboration between these two innovative companies and will be the focus of Apple’s investment.

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Sen. Mitch McConnel was in attendance at the conference Friday, and said he was working on tax reforms to help companies like Corning and Apple so that they can be more competitive globally. He also stated he came by the event to salute all of the workers at the Harrodsburg Corning plant. 

McConnell added that like many people, he always uses his iPhone the last thing at night and the first thing in the morning. And whenever he thinks of his iPhone he thinks of Harrodsburg.

Gorilla Glass was developed by Corning and has been on every iPhone since the product was first launched 10 years ago. Corning credits the new glass and the partnership with Apple for breathing new life into the factory that once faced an uncertain future.

The release states that through 2016, Corning has supplied Apple with 200 million square feet of Gorilla Glass for IPhone and 253 million square feet for the iPad. This totals to 552 million square feet of Gorilla Glass, roughly the equivalent of 10,000 football fields.

“Corning is a great example of a supplier that has continued to innovate and they are one of Apple’s long-standing suppliers,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, in a news release from the company. “This partnership started 10 years ago with the very first iPhone, and today every customer that buys an iPhone or iPad anywhere in the world touches glass that was developed in America. We’re extremely proud of our collaboration over the years and we are investing further with Corning who has such a rich legacy of innovative manufacturing practices.”

“Apple owes you a big thank you for all that work,” Williams said during the press conference.

Apple has “committed to investing at least $1 billion with U.S.-based companies as part of the fund, which is designed to foster innovative production and highly skilled jobs that will help lay the foundation for a new era of technology-driven manufacturing in the U.S.”

“Corning’s longstanding relationship with Apple has not only led to significant glass innovations that have enabled new capabilities for consumers, it has also helped create nearly 1,000 American jobs and allowed us to continue growing and expanding in the US,” said Wendell P. Weeks, Corning’s chairman, chief executive officer and president. “This investment will ensure our plant in Harrodsburg remains a global center of excellence for glass technology.”

During the news conference Weeks said that the company is “truly blessed to have the talented, flexible and dedicated workers,” at the Harrodsburg plant. 

In the U.S., Apple now supports 2 million jobs across all 50 states, including 450,000 jobs attributable to Apple’s spend and investment with U.S.-based suppliers. Last year alone, Apple spent over $50 billion with more than 9,000 domestic suppliers and manufacturers.

Since the inception of Gorilla Glass in 2007, the partnership between Apple and Corning has created and sustained nearly 1,000 U.S. jobs across Corning’s R&D, manufacturing and commercial functions, including over 400 in Harrodsburg. Corning has procured enough renewable energy to cover all of its Apple manufacturing in the U.S.

Wendell P. Weeks, Corning’s chairman, chief executive officer and president thanks Harrodsburg Corning employee, Carmelita Andrew for her more than 17 years of service to the company.