Plant grooms students for jobs
Posted: Monday, September 13, 2010 10:08 pm
By: The Associated Press
The Messenger 09.13.10
CHATTANOOGA (AP) — Volkswagen is grooming students for possible jobs at its new Chattanooga assembly plant and the apprenticeship program, while not guaranteeing a job, pays them for some of the workplace training.
Travis Wallick is among the first students in VW’s Automotive Mechatronic Program, a training partnership with the Tennessee Technology Center at Chattanooga State Com-munity College.
Wallick told the Chattanooga Times Free Press during a break in a class that the three-year program is a “great opportunity to work on new technologies,” even if there is no guarantee of a job.
The program includes instruction on robotics, electronics, programmable logic controllers, welding, metal working and other skill areas. Volkswagen plans to start production of a yet-to-be-seen mid-size sedan early next year and has already filled about half of its 2,000 jobs at the $1 billion plant.
While graduates don’t have a job guaranteed, the training gives them a competitive advantage toward getting hired. While training in the workplace, students receive pay that starts at $10 an hour.
Hans-Herbert Jagla, VW’s executive vice president of human resources in Chattanooga, said the apprenticeship program is off to a solid start. He said it uses the best of German and American training initiatives and rotates class time with on-the-job training.
“We want to keep our people as long as possible — 10, 20, 30 years,” he said.
The community college president, Jim Catanzaro, described the program as an “innovative relationship.”
Twenty students will be added to the program each year to maintain 60. Grants cover the students’ costs, a spokesman said.
Information from: Chatta-nooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com