Turnout heavy at jobs fair for Volkswagen suppliers in Chattanooga (with video)

Turnout heavy at jobs fair for Volkswagen suppliers in Chattanooga (with video)

July 17th, 2012 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Theodore Hall fills out an application while waiting for an interview Monday during a job fair being hosted by MAU Workforce Solutions at the Holiday Inn at Hamilton Place. The positions being filled are for two Volkswagen suppliers, Gestamp and Chattanooga Seating, paying between $10-$11 per hour.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

Jammal Taylor said Monday that landing a job for an automotive supplier to Volkswagen in Chattanooga would be "a game-changer" for him.

"It would provide longevity and, hopefully, a career," said Taylor, one of many people who filled a long, narrow room at a jobs fair at the Holiday Inn-Hamilton Place.

Staffing company MAU Workforce Solutions was expecting to see about 250 people Monday for the 100 slots it's seeking to fill for two VW plant suppliers.

Jeff Fuller, general manager of supplier Chattanooga Seating Systems, said he's aiming to bolster his work force by about 50 percent as the company adds 60 employees. That would bring the supplier's head count in Chattanooga to 180.

"We hope to have all those folks hired by the end of the month," said Fuller about the company that assembles seats for the Passat sedan that VW produces in the city.

A MAU official said the staffing firm also is looking to bring on people for Gestamp Corp., which makes stamped parts for VW at Enterprise South industrial park.

Job-seeker Randy Buttelmann said he formerly worked at the Toyota auto assembly plant in Georgetown, Ky., for about a year-and-a-half. He said his wife had found a job in Chattanooga and they've relocated from San Antonio, Texas.

"This would be a good opportunity for growth," Buttelmann said.

Chattanoogan Rebecca Jones said she's currently working at a Waffle House, but is hopeful of landing one of the slots that pays $10 to $11 an hour. The benefits package also was an attraction to her.

"They've got better benefits than Waffle House," Jones said.

Some of the new employees may initially work for MAU and later formally join the companies' staffs. According to MAU, it offers optional benefits such as medical, prescription, dental, life and vision coverage as well as a 401(k) plan.

Peggy Barrett, of Chattanooga, said she "loves factory work," so she would be a good fit for one of the supplier jobs. She termed the existing job market "terrible."

Jon Moss, a MAU employee working the job fair, said he likes helping people get jobs and recalled that in 2009, he had graduated from college and couldn't find a job.

"The economy was a mess," Moss said.

But, he said, MAU gave him an opportunity.

"They need a chance to get into the work force," Moss said of the job-seekers.

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