VW Plant In Tenn. Looking To Fill 1,200 Jobs

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- Volkswagen will start accepting applications Oct. 26 for about 1,200 production jobs at its new plant in Chattanooga, with the first hiring set early next year.

Ryan Rose, a spokesman for the $1 billion plant where workers will build a new mid-sized sedan starting in 2011, said applicants from the Chattanooga area will get priority in the first phase of the screening, a day of hands-on testing that simulates the workplace.

"Our hope is we are going to find everyone we need right here in Chattanooga and the area," Rose said Friday.

VW's executive vice president of human resources in Chattanooga, Hans-Herbert Jagla, said in a statement that the application period ends Nov. 15.

Those who pass the computer-scored assessments will be called back for face-to-face interviews. Hiring will start in the first quarter of 2010 while assessments of other applicants continue through next year.

Starting pay for the body and paint shop, welding and assembly jobs is $14.50 per hour, increasing to $19.50 per hour over three years, in addition to health insurance and other benefits, the statement says. Rose said that is competitive for the area.

"These production team members will make up the majority of our 2,000-plus workforce here in Chattanooga and are the key to the successful launch of our new plant," Jagla said.

Applicants are encouraged to use www.VWJobsChattanooga.com or they can go to any Tennessee Career Center for assistance. Applicants must be at least 18, have a high school diploma or a GED and be approved to work in the United States.

Rose said there is no advantage to applying early.

"All applicants who complete their application during the three-week period will be given equal consideration," Rose said.

VW already has more than 200 salaried employees in Chattanooga and has taken applications for skilled maintenance jobs. Rose said there have been about 25,000 applications.

Estimates are that the plant will generate $12 billion in income growth and an additional 9,500 jobs over the life of the project.

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