Lear begins recruitment and training for new plant

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Applications became available Monday for assessment and training for jobs with Lear Corp., a leading automotive seat supplier locating a plant in Hope Hull near Montgomery.

Lear will provide seats for the vehicles that will be produced at the new Hyundai Motor Manufacturing plant. According to Phyllis M. Wesley, communications coordinator of Alabama Industrial Development Training located in Montgomery, no deadline for completion of the recruitment / training process has been set.

Typically, she said, there are far more applicants than slots to fill, which means that recruiters can be highly selective.

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Wesley estimated that approximately 250 jobs would be filled by the year 2005 when mass manufacturing begins at Lear’s Hope Hull plant. A somewhat smaller contingent is expected to begin in the summer of 2004.

In September, Wayne Vardaman, president and CEO of the Selma & Dallas County Centre for Commerce, announced that Lear Corp. would locate &uot;multiple&uot; tier two automotive suppliers at Craig Field Industrial Park. When completed, the plants could provide as many as 100 to 400 jobs.

The project’s timetable is expected to coincide with the scheduled start-up of Hyundai’s Hope Hull plant, which is set to open in March 2005.

Hyundai is planning to begin assembling prototypes on its new assembly line next summer, Wesley said, so that suppliers like Lear would need to be up and running at that time.

Potential employees to fill industrial maintenance and assembly jobs at the Lear plant are being sought, she said.

Maintenance technician candidates must have at least three years’ experience in manufacturing or assembly maintenance or have journeyman certification in pneumatics, programmable controls, analytical/troubleshooting skills, hydraulics, or electrical wiring and distribution. An associate degree in mechanical or electrical technology is preferred, but not required.

Assembler candidates must have at least one year’s experience in manufacturing or other fast-paced work environment. Assembly experience is preferred, but not required.

Candidates for either position must have a high school diploma or GED, be at least 19 years old and able to work first or second shifts, as well as scheduled overtime, weekends and holidays as needed.

Lear will only accept employees who have successfully completed the AIDT training program, though completion does not guarantee a job offer. Neither are trainees obligated to accept an offer, Wesley said.

Wesley said that Lear Corp. is seeking highly motivated self-starters who demonstrate the ability and interest in producing a superior product and satisfying customer needs.

Providing further details about the recruitment/training process, Wesley said that candidates are required to demonstrate their qualifications for the position and must also demonstrate the ability to learn new things and to apply knowledge to the tasks being done.

AIDT is part of the state’s two-year college program. It was established in 1971 to develop and to coordinate training programs for companies that are creating jobs in Alabama through startup or expansion.

For more than 30 years AIDT has customized pre-employment, on-the-job and new-skills training programs for more than 200,000 citizens of Alabama employed by more that 3,500 organizations. According to Wesley, AIDT is currently operating in 47 of Alabama’s 67 counties.

For the Lear type of program Wesley said that a training site is set up, most frequently near the future work site.

AIDT will typically lease space for training or use mobile training units.

AIDT training programs are conducted at night to allow trainees to continue working at their current jobs while in training.

There is no cost for the training, according to Wesley, and the potential employer does not pay salary to trainees.

Wesley, who has been with AIDT for 12 years, is proud of the work of her organization in preparing candidates to begin work in corporate settings.

In the past, she said that new employees who had completed the AIDT process and who were sent to an existing plant for final orientation were praised for their readiness.

Wesley also commented on the ripple effect in local economies when new plants are built.

As workers are recruited and trained for the new plants, new entry-level positions open for unskilled workers.

Applications are now available at the Alabama State Employment Service office at 1060 E. South Blvd., Montgomery, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Application information is also available at the AIDT Web site: www.aidt.edu/companyjobs.html and the ASES Web site: www.es.dir.alabama.gov.