BY THE NUMBERS
675 — Number of additional Volkswagen jobs opening up this year
125 — Number of additional Aerotek jobs opening up this year for VW in Chattanooga
2,700 — Current number of VW and contractor jobs at Volkswagen's Chattanooga assembly plant
3,500 — Employment total at VW plant by the end of the year
Source: Volkswagen of America
A Volkswagen staffing agency is seeking to immediately fill hundreds of more jobs at VW's assembly plant in Chattanooga by this summer.
Aerotek Inc., the Hanover, Md.-based contractor supplying most of the hourly employees for Volkswagen, announced Wednesday it is taking more applications to fill many of the 800 additional jobs that Volkswagen plans to add during 2012.
The production and assemby jobs at Aerotek pay from $12 to $13 an hour, but many of those intially hired by the contractor are being transitioned this year to jobs with Volkswagen, which start at $14.50 an hour.
"We've received several thousand applications in the past year and the quality of the labor has been great," said Lucas Hiler, national account executive for Aerotek. "We're getting very successful candidates for Volkswagen."
Aerotek currently provides about 500 contract workers in VW's Chattanooga plant. Many of those workers are being transitioned to full-time jobs with Volkswagen and will be replaced with other contract jobs working for Aerotek.
"We are assessing each Aerotek employee for their performance and look forward to hiring those that meet our performance standards," said Guenther Scherelis, general manager of communications for Volkswagen in Chattanooga. "We will have an open window over the next three to four months and encourage applicants to apply or a position at Aerotek."
Volkswagen uses the staffing agency to screen, hire and provide temporary production and assembly jobs in the Chattanooga plant. Hiler said applicants initially fill out online forms and, if selected, are reviewed during a 6-hour assessment test of how they follow instructions, perform tasks and work with other team members.
Full-time contract employees hired through Aerotek receive benefits, including medical, dental, vision, 401(k) and more, according to the company. Candidates for the production jobs must be 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or GED and have legal authorization to work in the U.S.
The Volkswagen Chattanooga plant currently employs more than 2,700 people, including 500 Aerotek contractors, to produce the Passat, which was named Motor Trend Car of the Year in 2011. The combined VW and contractor staff at the plant is projected to grow to 3,500 jobs by the end of 2012.
VW contractors currently employ more than 500 workers near the plant in the Enterprise South Industrial Park and that number also is expected to increase this year.
"Quite plainly, we need more Passats to meet the market demand and I'm glad that we can respond so quickly by adding staff in Chattanooga," Volkswagen of America President Jonathan Browning said last month in announcing the staff additions.
The VW and related supplier additions are part of a resurgence in factory jobs in Chattanooga.
"Manufacturing employment has been a key part of this recovery, especially in cities like Chattanooga where Volkswagen and other companies are expanding," University of Tennessee Economist Bill Fox said.
In February, manufacturing employment in the Chattanooga metropolitan area grew to 30,900 jobs, or 3,500 more than two years earlier, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...