Hyundai#039;s 2000 jobs years away

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Interviewer Ricky Littleton of the state's Clanton Employment Security Office said based on past experience, "it will not be difficult" to apply for a job at the Hyundai plant.

"They make it as easy as possible," he said, saying the first wave of management hirings could be employed in a year. The full plant operation will not take place for maybe three years.

"I look for them to start looking for technical and management employees in the not too distant future," he said.

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Littleton said with 2,000 overall to be hired at Hyundai, it would not surprise him to find at least 100 hired in the initial stages to get the plant moving, including personnel in human resources.

He showed the standard application form, noting it was "pretty simple" and had been used for other plants in the past, such as KMA in Clanton and Mercedes-Benz in Vance. Thousands of applications were taken for Mercedes and Honda when they came to the state, and thousands are expected for Hyundai as well.

The first step will come with a public notification that jobs are being accepted. That may come sooner rather than later, as the groundbreaking is already set for this month.

"That surprised me," he said, noting he understands Hyundai wants to move as quickly as possible. Honda also acted more quickly at this than Mercedes-Benz.

Littleton speculated a posting could come before the end of the year, possibly even sooner.

Once that comes, the application forms will need to be filled out. The Clanton Employment Security Office has already been given 500 applications in advance, Littleton said, adding that is not unheard of. He noted he took 800 applications for KMA and he expects about 1,000 applications when CRH North America posts maybe 400 jobs for its expansion in a couple of weeks. He said 500 applications already have been turned in quietly in advance of the CRH posting.

Littleton noted many people will want a job at Hyundai. "It's a job with disposable income," meaning a job allowing someone to be able to buy a car, a home, and have some extra spending money.

Employees are possibly looking at making $20 an hour, or $800 a week. "That's a good job," Littleton said.

When a posting has been made and the application form has been obtained at the state employment office, it only takes 15 minutes to fill out. However, he said all the spaces need to be filled, including references. "You would be surprised how many don't fill that out," he said.

Employers look for that, as they want to see if potential employees can follow instructions.

Next, applicants will be picked to go to training sessions for anywhere from five to eight weeks for a couple of nights a week, he said. This does not guarantee a job, but is really "a screening tool" to weed out hundreds of applicants to find the best employees, he said.

The skill training allows a company to see how the applicant does in math, mechanical skills, and other abilities.

Such training may take place in the state, but many times those being trained may even be sent overseas. In the case of CRH North America, which located in Clanton, a number of employees were sent to the parent headquarters in Germany. CRH and KMA also did some training at the Alabama Power office in Clanton.

Few such companies do the initial training in the actual plant as it is still under construction, he said.

Asked what type of employees the auto companies and their spin-offs look for, Littleton said, "All of them are looking for people with a good, steady work records in some sort of industry." It doesn't have to be in the auto industry, but can be in the wood mills or any industry. "They don't favor people who have had five jobs in six weeks," he said.

They must be technical people who are oriented to mechanical work and details. "They want the real detail oriented people," and don't want errors. "They don't want good quality. They want excellent quality," he said.

He reported CRH and KMA have been pleased with the employees they have obtained in the area, pointing out CRH is now constructing for the major expansion announced last year in the governor's office.