:Chattanooga; :Oct 27, 2009; :Business; :20


5,000 apply online for VW jobs

By Mike Pare mpare@timesfreepress.com

Online: See people filing for VW jobs. Read prior stories. Comment on this stor y.

    Joe Benton, of Chattanooga, said he’s been unemployed for six months and really wants one of the production jobs for which Volkswagen started taking applications Monday.

    “It’s not all about the money. I want benefits,” he said at the Tennessee Career Center at Eastgate Town Center.

    He is among thousands of people who applied for the 1,200 production jobs at VW’s Chattanooga plant which is under construction and slated to open in early 2011.

    As of late Monday afternoon, more than 5,000 people had applied online for the jobs, which will start at $14.50 per hour and grow to $19.50 per hour over 36 months, according to officials. Benefits will include medical, dental, life insurance and a retirement savings program.

    Mario Duarte, assistant
manager of human resources, staffing and planning for VW in the city, said the application process on the first day of a three-week application window went “very well.”

    “There was no crowd. No lines,” he said at the Career Center.

    However, the center stayed busy, with between 100 and 200 people coming by to apply by just mid-morning.

    Bert Moore, of Dalton, Ga., said he drove up to the Career Center to file online for a job.

    “I’ve got a background in production,” said Mr. Moore, who currently is unemployed. “It would be a good opportunity with the benefits.”

    Mr. Duarte expected a spike in applications on Saturday, it being the first weekend.

    The Career Center will extend its hours during the first two of the three weeks of taking applications, said Andrea Witt, coordinator of the Chattanooga office.

    She said the center will open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday for VW applicants.

    Mattie Moran of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce said she hopes people filed online at home, but the Career Centers are ready with the later hours.

    “That makes it a little easier,” she said.

    VW officials have said they expect several tens of thousands to seek the production jobs at the Chattanooga plant under construction at Enterprise South industrial park.

    They said there’s no advantage to filing for the production jobs early in the three-week application window, which will remain open until midnight Nov. 15. A lottery-like process is to be used to evaluate the applications. Hiring isn’t expected to start until early next year.

PRODUCTION JOBS

VW is taking only online applications. People may go to www. vwjobschattanooga. com.


Staff File Photo by Patrick Smith Volkswagen’s paint shop shown here will hold enough roofing to cover seven football fields when finished, according , to the carmaker.