The first wave of job interviews aimed at filling Volkswagen’s need for 2,000 workers took place in Chattanooga on Wednesday, even as company officials talked of more hiring sessions later this year.
VW officials planned to extend offers to as many as 50 people for jobs in purchasing that could pay up to $75,000 annually, said David Bruce, Volkswagen Group of America’s general manager of human resources.
“They’ll have full benefits as part of the compensation package,” he said at the Convention Center, where 100 people were invited to interview for the posts.
Mr. Bruce said the first hires could be ready to work as early as Sept. 15.
In September, VW is planning a more broad-based job fair-type event for people interested in other slots at the assembly plant. The date hasn’t been set yet, officials said.
To see VW job postings, go to timesfreepress.com/vwjobs
Late this year or early next, another round of hiring related to purchasing and procurement may take place, they said.
VW is on an aggressive construction schedule to start producing cars at the Enterprise South industrial park by early 2011. Only three weeks ago, VW announced it would build a $1 billion plant in Chattanooga.
One job seeker, Paul Busher of Nashville, said he learned of the position from a newspaper ad and a posting on the Internet. He now works in the auto industry and believes he is a fit for the German automaker.
“My goal is to be part of a greenfield startup,” Mr. Busher said, adding he has worked for a German car company in the past.
Genea Beard of Chattanooga was at the Convention Center getting information about VW jobs. While she already has a job, she said she believes that working for Volkswagen would be “a great opportunity.” Her ex-husband, Aaron, also is looking to fill a slot for the automaker, he said.
“I’ve been job hunting for three months,” Mr. Beard said.
Volkswagen spokeswoman Jill Bratina said 90 percent of the people interviewed came from within 100 miles of Chattanooga. VW wasn’t hiring for supplier companies, but representatives of some of those firms were invited, officials said.
Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey noted that VW received a heavy response from the public for the jobs. More than 2,200 people registered online for the first 50 jobs, records show.
“They’ve gotten a lot of interest,” Mr. Ramsey said.
Jeff Olingy, vice president of economic and community development at Chattanooga State Technical Community College, said the school isn’t doing job training yet.
“As we get to late 2009 and into 2010, we’ll be ramping up training,” he said. Plans are for the college to manage a training center at Enterprise South.
Mr. Olingy said Chattanooga State will be fine-tuning its existing course structure to meet VW’s needs.
“We’ve put together a VW action team,” he said.
Mark Drury, an assistant state Economic and Community Development commissioner, said the state is making Department of Labor services available for VW.
“We’ll assist VW when and where they need it,” he said.
Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...