The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama projects 2,400 automotive jobs will be available in Tuscaloosa County within the next 18 months. All of those positions are being created by suppliers for the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International plant in Vance, due to Mercedes' ongoing $1.3 billion expansion.
"Within the next two years there will be a lot of hiring in different phases. They range anywhere from logistics companies, all the way up to advanced manufacturing, paint and body, and maintenance companies," said Donny Jones, COO of The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama.
Mercedes suppliers will fill more than 16 different job types. Salaries range from $23,000 to $143,000.
Jones is also a team leader for West Alabama Works. WAW has launched a new $1.5 million program, funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, to retrain 1,000 displaced coal mine workers for the automotive jobs.
"This grant is really geared towards people who have been laid off in the mining industry. We're retooling and retraining those individuals and their family members, but anybody in the community can take advantage of these programs," Jones explained.
Shelton State Community College is a training provider for the grant, offering credentials in manufacturing and logistics.
"....what a supply chain looks like, all the links, all the drivers. What's upstream in a supply chain, what's downstream," Shelton State logistics instructor Tony Barnes said while explaining what students learn in his class.
Anyone interested in West Alabama Works job training should visit their website: WestAlabamaWorks.com. Click on "Connect Me Now", and enter your information.