Staff Photo by Gillian Bolsover Hundreds of people seeking to land professional and administrative jobs with Volkswagen wait to enter an information session at the Chattanooga Convention Center during Volkswagen's Career Information Day..
Job seekers from the Chattanooga area turned out in throngs Thursday in hopes of landing a post with German automaker Volkswagen.
“We didn’t expect so many,” said Frank Fischer, the manager of the new plant that is going up at Enterprise South industrial park, at a VW career and supplier expo.
Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield said he was “blown away” by the numbers, which a VW official estimated at between 2,000 and 2,500 people.
“This is just fantastic,” he said.
Inside the Chattanooga Convention Center, people waited in lines 30 to 40 deep for a chance to apply for the professional and administrative positions.
Volkswagen’s Chattanooga assembly plant will be the company’s 52nd facility worldwide when it is complete by early 2011, according to VW.
One hopeful, Robert McGowan of Chattanooga, said the city hasn’t had something as big as VW in his lifetime.
“I want to be a part of it,” said Mr. McGowan, who has a job in the trucking industry but wants to join the car maker in a human resources capacity.
Emily Jones of Chattanooga, eyeing a post in administrative support or finance, noted that VW is an international company and may have more stability than others.
“The way the economy is, it’s a bigger base,” she said as she waited in a line to gather more information.
Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey termed VW “a good company” for which people want to work. He also said the national economic downturn has come into play.
“It’s in relation to the economy,” Mr. Ramsey said about the crowd.
Jonathan Reed of Chattanooga said he recently was laid off from his job and is eager to fill a quality control slot.
“It’s a company that pays pretty well and gives longevity,” said the 27-year-old man.
Alvis Ray Rich of Rossville said he is employed, but hoping to move into a position with VW. He said he has worked for a similar company, bus maker Blue Bird Corp. in LaFayette, Ga., for about 18 months.
People intent on visiting the VW expo were circling the block looking for empty parking spaces Thursday afternoon. Inside, persons representing local companies wanting to supply goods or services to VW waited to get into seminars about the process. Others, resumes in hand, stood in lines to try to get an inside track to secure a position.
According to VW, the jobs are expected to pay from between $40,000 to $70,000 annually.
But, it will likely be three to six months before much of the hiring takes place for the posts advertised Thursday. Mr. Fischer said it is uncertain how many of those positions will be filled and he declined to estimate a number.
The plant manager said VW will hold future job fairs for other posts, including those who will actually build the cars.
VW expects to hire about 2,000 people for its Chattanooga plant at Enterprise South industrial park. The plant is expected to produce about 150,000 vehicles when it starts operations by early 2011.
In September, VW held a vendor fair for minority business people and hundreds showed up with the aim of supplying the car company. The company is planning more vendor fairs in the next few months as it ramps up operations.
VW wants 10 percent of its plant construction to be placed with minority suppliers when production starts. Also, the company is aiming by 2011 for 5 percent of components to come from minority outfits. By 2015, that is to be up to 10 percent, according to VW.
Volkswagen jobsHundreds of people seeking to land jobs with Volkswagen or to supply parts to the automaker on Thursday lined up at the Chattanooga Convention Center during Volkswagen’s Career Information Day.
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 ...