published Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Wacker offering bonus to recruits who graduate


Wacker Institute Information Sessions

When: Every Monday from 5-6 p.m. and Tuesdays at 9-10 a.m. through July 26

Where: Monday sessions are at Chattanooga State’s Amnicola Highway Campus in the Health Science Center; Tuesday sessions are Chattanooga State’s East Campus, 7158 Lee Highway


Dayton/Rhea County

When: ThursdayJune 16 from 2–8 p.m. with info sessions scheduled at 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Where: Rhea County Economic & Community Development Center, 107 Main St., Dayton, Tenn.

Athens/McMinn County

When: June 21 from 2–8 p.m. with info sessions scheduled at 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Where: Southeast Tennessee Trade & Conference Center, 815 N. Jackson St., Athens, Tenn.

For more information on recruitment fairs, call 423-697-2496.

DALTON, Ga. — Wacker Polysilicon North America has just sweetened the deal for students attending its specialized degree program at Chattanooga State Community College.

Graduating students hired at Wacker will be given a $3,000 recruitment bonus.

The money could pay almost half the tuition costs at the Wacker Institute, a partnership between Chattanooga State and Wacker that focuses on degrees in chemical technology, chemical laboratory technology, mechanical technology and electrical and Instrumentation technology.

Chattanooga State and Wacker officials made the announcement about the bonus at a recruitment fair in Dalton on Tuesday afternoon. Officials held three sessions at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center to talk about careers available at Wacker and degrees at Chattanooga State that will prepare people for those jobs.

“These are not short-term jobs. They are very tangible careers,” Tim McGhee, dean of Chattanooga State’s Engineering Technology Division, told a handful of job seekers.

German-based Wacker has begun work on its Cleveland plant and plans to begin production in 2013.

As the manufacturing and energy industries grow in the Chattanooga area, there is an increased demand for workers with two-year technology degrees, McGhee said. Other degrees offered at the school include the potential to work in construction, engineering and environmental sustainability, he said.

In 2010, 95 percent of Chattanooga State engineering technology graduates were able to find jobs, McGhee said, many in well-paying industries.

Classes at the Wacker Institute begin in August, but Wacker already has offered jobs to the institute’s first round of workers, said Jeff Zierenberg, manager of human resources and training for Wacker.

Students graduating from Wacker Institute with a B-plus average are guaranteed a job interview at Wacker for jobs that pay about $50,000 a year, Zierenberg said.

“We are breaking the paradigm of what a typical manufacturing plant is. We need a higher caliber of employees,” he said. “And our preferred staffing will be through Chattanooga State. We are going to need a pipeline of talent for years to come.”

Tim Little, of Cleveland, likes what he heard in Dalton. The 39-year-old lost his job in April after years of working in service technology and is thinking about enrolling in classes that will provide an opportunity to work at Wacker.

“It sounds like something I would enjoy doing. They sound like a good company,” he said.

about Mariann Martin...

Mariann Martin covers healthcare in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. She joined the Times Free Press in February 2011, after covering crime and courts for the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun for two years. Mariann was born in Indiana, but grew up in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Belize. She graduated from Union University in 2005 with degrees in English and history and has master’s degrees in international relations and history from the University of Toronto. While attending Union, ...

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