HTI Employment Solutions to fill 300 jobs for Plastic Omnium

photo Plastic Omnium logo

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Citing Chattanooga's manufacturing base and growing automotive focus, a South Carolina employment firm is opening a Scenic City office to fill the 300 jobs that Volkswagen supplier Plastic Omnium plans to create in the city.

HTI Employment Solutions will hold its first job fair Thursday at the Hamilton Place Embassy Suites from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Plastic Omnium is building a $70 million plant to make bumpers at Enterprise South industrial park for the Passat and new sport utility vehicle.

HTI is prepping an office on Shallowford Road and will initially employ four people, said Steven Sawyer, its manager of business development. Sawyer said 98 percent of its business is in the manufacturing arena.

The staffing company will serve both suppliers that directly serve original equipment makers like Volkswagen -- so-called tier one companies -- and the suppliers to those suppliers -- tier two businesses.

"With all the tier ones and tier twos, it's a natural for us," he said.

Sawyer said some of the new Plastic Omnium employees will initially work for HTI. For example, he said, the employees may work a 90-day probationary period for HTI at the plant before officially joining Plastic Omnium.

The entry-level starting wage will be $12.45 per hour, going to $14.65 per hour after joining the company full time, according to HTI.

HTI is seeking operators, technicians, team leaders and other positions. Temp-to-hire and direct-hire positions are available in such departments as assembly, paint line loading and preparation, and injection molding.

Minimum requirements include a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Manufacturing experience is preferred and health care options and 401k benefits are available, according to HTI.

Bill Kilbride, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's president, said hiring decisions are one of the most critical a company makes.

HTI will help Plastic Omnium sort through the many resumes and applications its receives, said Kilbride, who recently retired from floorcovering manufacturer Mohawk Industries as president of its Home Division.

"The role [staffing companies] fill has gotten to be very important for manufacturers," he said.

Sawyer said that while its primary work will involve Plastic Omnium, the company will look at growing its business in Chattanooga.

Founded in 1999, Greenville, S.C.-based HTI also has offices in North Carolina, Mississippi and Georgia.

"Chattanooga fits so well with HTI's growth plan and culture," said Brian Buchanan, the company's director of industrial operations. "When we consider which communities to grow into we look for a good business climate, a solid plan for continued growth and most importantly, an area that people want to live in. It is no secret that Chattanooga has all three."

Plastic Omnium intends to create 184 new jobs by the time it starts production in 2015 and expand its payroll to 300 people as early as three years after opening. It has purchased about 27 acres at Enterprise South.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.