Hyundai, others 'competing' for skilled workers

By Brad Harper, for Montgomery Advertiser

Nov 17, 2017

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Marbury graduate Jacob Jacks is studying industrial maintenance, a trade that’s in high demand among the area’s auto manufacturers and their vast network of suppliers. But he doesn’t have his sights set on the auto industry.

He pictures himself working on a dam, maybe for someone like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or Alabama Power.

“I’ve just always been interested in the field,” said Jacks, an 18-year-old student at Trenholm State Community College. “I’ve always been fascinated by how industry works.”

Lately, some of Alabama’s top job providers have been working to find more people like him. That includes the Hyundai assembly plant in Montgomery.

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama spokesman Robert Burns said industrial maintenance is the plant’s “weak spot” when it comes to finding and recruiting the right people. The plant formed a partnership with Trenholm to help shore up the ranks, using them as summer interns and — in some cases — hiring them.

“But there’s only so many we can get because we’re not the only ones looking for them,” Burns said. “Rheem is looking for them. BMW is looking for them. I’m sure International Paper is looking for them. We’re still competing for what is a very small pool of people.”

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