Volkswagen plant job-seekers flooded the company with 623 resumes for the first 50 open slots in the initial days after the automaker started placing help-wanted ads, officials said Wednesday.
“We got an overwhelming response,” said Mike Beamish, Volkswagen Group of America’s executive vice president for human resources.
Altogether, the company’s job Web site received 4,150 hits over the few days since the first newspaper advertisements ran Sunday, according to VW.
Meanwhile, VW officials said they plan to lease office space at a vacant building in the Enterprise South industrial park. They said they’ll occupy the former Integrated Data Solutions Inc. building, which they’ll call home until new space goes up at the nearby plant site in late 2010 or early 2011.
“It’s a great facility,” Mr. Beamish said about the Integrated Data building, which is only a couple of years old. “It presents a lot of opportunities. Most important, it’s right opposite the new site.”
The building is owned by Eastside Utility District, which purchased it from a bank, said Eastside General Manager Don Stafford.
“We were planning on moving in; VW decided they wanted to come,” he said. “We’ll have it back in a few years.”
It was just last week the German automaker unveiled a decision to locate a new North American assembly plant in Chattanooga. Since then, the world’s fourth-biggest auto company has moved rapidly on several fronts to push the project toward production.
Mr. Beamish said the company is pleased with site work under way by the city and Hamilton County as VW officials develop timelines for construction and more employee recruitment.
VW spokeswoman Jill Bratina said the first jobs involving purchasing and procurement are important because they relate to plant construction.
“If we have those people hired, we’ll breathe a little bit easier,” she said. “These are important jobs in that they’ll work with suppliers helping with construction.”
The plant is expected eventually to employ 2,000 people.
J.Ed. Marston, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s vice president of marketing, said local officials are approaching the point where they can’t do much more work at the plant site without instructions from VW. But, he said, the automaker is moving ahead quickly.
“Two days after the announcement, we were getting calls,” Mr. Marston said.
Mr. Beamish and others from Volkswagen, including a top production executive, met with local and state officials Wednesday to discuss the project. Ms. Bratina said the plant’s footprint is being finalized, but the company’s goal is to have concrete poured by year’s end.
VW officials have said they plan to produce 150,000 vehicles a year at the plant, which is a key cog in its goal to sell 1 million VWs and Audis a year in the United States by 2018. That’s more than triple the number sold last year in this country.
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 ...