Wacker Institute Information Sessions
When: Every Monday from 5-6 p.m. and Tuesdays at 9-10 a.m. through July 26
Where: Monday sessions are at Chattanooga State's Amnicola Highway Campus in the Health Science Center; Tuesday sessions are Chattanooga State's East Campus, 7158 Lee Highway
When: ThursdayJune 16 from 2-8 p.m. with info sessions scheduled at 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Where: Rhea County Economic & Community Development Center, 107 Main St., Dayton, Tenn.
When: June 21 from 2-8 p.m. with info sessions scheduled at 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Where: Southeast Tennessee Trade & Conference Center, 815 N. Jackson St., Athens, Tenn.
For more information on recruitment fairs, call 423-697-2496.
DALTON, Ga. - Wacker Polysilicon North America has just sweetened the deal for students attending its specialized degree program at Chattanooga State Community College.
Graduating students hired at Wacker will be given a $3,000 recruitment bonus.
The money could pay almost half the tuition costs at the Wacker Institute, a partnership between Chattanooga State and Wacker that focuses on degrees in chemical technology, chemical laboratory technology, mechanical technology and electrical and Instrumentation technology.
Chattanooga State and Wacker officials made the announcement about the bonus at a recruitment fair in Dalton on Tuesday afternoon. Officials held three sessions at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center to talk about careers available at Wacker and degrees at Chattanooga State that will prepare people for those jobs.
"These are not short-term jobs. They are very tangible careers," Tim McGhee, dean of Chattanooga State's Engineering Technology Division, told a handful of job seekers.
German-based Wacker has begun work on its Cleveland plant and plans to begin production in 2013.
As the manufacturing and energy industries grow in the Chattanooga area, there is an increased demand for workers with two-year technology degrees, McGhee said. Other degrees offered at the school include the potential to work in construction, engineering and environmental sustainability, he said.
In 2010, 95 percent of Chattanooga State engineering technology graduates were able to find jobs, McGhee said, many in well-paying industries.
Classes at the Wacker Institute begin in August, but Wacker already has offered jobs to the institute's first round of workers, said Jeff Zierenberg, manager of human resources and training for Wacker.
Students graduating from Wacker Institute with a B-plus average are guaranteed a job interview at Wacker for jobs that pay about $50,000 a year, Zierenberg said.
"We are breaking the paradigm of what a typical manufacturing plant is. We need a higher caliber of employees," he said. "And our preferred staffing will be through Chattanooga State. We are going to need a pipeline of talent for years to come."
Tim Little, of Cleveland, likes what he heard in Dalton. The 39-year-old lost his job in April after years of working in service technology and is thinking about enrolling in classes that will provide an opportunity to work at Wacker.
"It sounds like something I would enjoy doing. They sound like a good company," he said.