Willa Martin Bailey
Volkswagen’s planned $1 billion plant at Enterprise South industrial park and the supplier network expected to spring up in the region will attract new talent nationally to the Chattanooga area, a jobs recruiter said.
“Volkswagen will definitely recruit nationally,” said Willa Martin Bailey, president of Global Recruiters of Nashville Metro.
Engineers, technical workers and others are likely to want to relocate here to fill positions with the German automaker and suppliers, she said.
“All auto companies have strong employment and supplier diversity programs,” Mrs. Bailey added. “They want to make sure their employment and supply base looks like their customer base.”
Mrs. Bailey said she can’t envision Volkswagen taking a different course.
A VW official said the company wants the best qualified work force. Still, most of the jobs at the plant will be filled from the local job pool, Jill Bratina, Volkswagen Group of America’s director of corporate communications, said.
J.Ed. Marston, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s vice president of marketing, said the Chamber pitched the city’s work force to VW as part of its package to lure the automaker. He expects governments and jobs entities in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama will coordinate efforts to help provide the company with workers.
At the same time, Mrs. Bailey said some VW workers from its research and development operations in Michigan could relocate to Chattanooga.
“These will be good, high-paying jobs,” she said.
In particular, VW suppliers who build plants relatively near the assembly facility often have good reason to work with recruitment firms such as Global Recruiters.
“They’ve outsourced a lot of that,” Mrs. Bailey said.
She said the supply chain for VW will extend throughout Tennessee and bordering states.
“Georgia will play an integral role,” Mrs. Bailey said.
Ms. Bratina noted that Georgia supported Chattanooga’s winning bid for the plant over Alabama and Michigan. In fact, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue sent a letter in June to Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen offering the state’s assistance.
“There will be opportunities down the road” for Georgia, Ms. Bratina said.
Mrs. Bailey said Chattanooga shouldn’t have trouble recruiting.
“Tennessee is positioned in an attractive geographical location ... in the middle of everything,” she said.
Chattanooga’s benefits to outsiders is that it’s a small metropolitan area that is close to Atlanta, Mr. Bailey said.
“It allows for more-affordable housing for people and has a wealth of culture people are looking for, with a small metropolitan feel to it,” she said.
ON THE WEB
People interested in Volkswagen jobs may go to www.volkswagengroupamerica.com.
Volkswagen already has listed purchasing and procurement jobs because those relate to construction of the plant, which is expected to begin later this year. The facility plans to start producing cars in late 2010 or early 2011.
The plant is expected to employ 2,000 people as it produces 150,000 cars annually. In addition, supplier jobs are likely to add at least that many jobs in the region.
The importance of supplier jobs on the economic impact of a new auto plant is evident in Georgia, where Kia Motor Corp. is building a $1.2 billion assembly facility in West Point. Kia and its suppliers have announced about 6,000 jobs so far, said Maggie Large, a communications specialist for the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
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 ...