Chattanooga’s newest employer wasted no time planning a September job fair to recruit workers and meet an aggressive construction timeline for a $1 billion Volkswagen plant.
Volkswagen spokeswoman Jill Bratina said the job fair likely is planned for after Labor Day, but details aren’t finalized yet. She said the company plans to fill some initial critical positions, such as purchasing and procurement.
“We’ll initially hire 50 individuals,” she said. “In the next few weeks, you’ll see advertisements.” Interviews will begin within weeks, Ms. Bratina said.
Jobs will be posted on VW of America’s Web site at www.volkswagengroupamerica.com.
Later, VW will hire other positions, and it will identify a timeline for those jobs, Ms. Bratina said.
“This is a process. We’ll be hiring over time,” she said. “It won’t happen all at once.”
Also, with northwest Georgia workers standing to gain from the assembly plant, Gov. Sonny Perdue sent a letter last month to Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, supporting Chattanooga’s bid for the facility.
“The full resources of my office and Georgia’s Department of Economic Development will be available to you as you strive to locate this important project,” Gov. Perdue said in the June 18 letter.
Volkswagen announced Tuesday it will create about 2,000 jobs at a plant to go up at Enterprise South industrial park.
The jobs, which were termed “family wage” by Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey and other officials, are expected to draw a strong response from the public.
In Georgia, about 43,000 people applied for the 2,500 to 3,000 jobs at the Kia plant that is now under construction in West Point, said Bert Brantley, press secretary for Gov. Perdue.
The average annual wage is about $50,000 for the Kia jobs, not including benefits, he said. The positions range from assembly line workers to managers, Mr. Brantley said.
Ms. Bratina wouldn’t give an average wage for the VW workers but said the company will be competitive.
Concerning the letter from Gov. Perdue, Mr. Brantley said that once Georgia was eliminated from contention for the plant, the Georgia governor offered Gov. Bredesen his help. Mr. Brantley said a similar letter was not sent to Alabama Gov. Bob Riley. Alabama’s proposed site for the plant was near Huntsville.
Mark Drury, an assistant commissioner of Tennessee’s Economic and Community Development Department, said the state of Georgia was “very supportive throughout the process.”
Mr. Drury said there was periodic communication between Tennessee ECD Commissioner Matt Kisber and his Georgia counterpart but declined to be specific.
Volkswagen wants to get its new assembly plant ready by the end of 2010 and make 150,000 vehicles a year.
Stefan Jacoby, VW of America Group’s chief executive, quipped that the timeline is “typically German ... ambitious and tight.”
“The ground work has started,” he said, noting the clearing and grading done at the Enterprise South site by city and county government and private contractors.
More construction work is expected to begin this fall, Ms. Bratina 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 ...