WEST POINT, Ga. Jan. 28, 2009 — Hiring and training continues at Kia’s first North American automobile assembly plant in West Point as a strong local work ethic has paid big dividends as Kia gets closer to the start of production.
Randy Jackson, the director of human resources and administration for Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG), said today that Kia is very pleased with the progress that KMMG’s new team members are making during training and with the support Kia continues to receive from Georgia Quick Start, the state’s workforce development program.
“As we gear up to go into production later this year, the training our team members receive is of the utmost importance,” Jackson said. “I’ve been in a lot of states and seen a lot of workforce training programs and I can tell you that our team members are receiving the “best of the best” from Quick Start. This organization is a true testament to the hard work put in by Commissioner Ron Jackson, Assistant Commissioner Jackie Rohosky and their staff.”
Jackson says that he is encouraged by the progress he sees each day and that he is confident everyone will continue making the necessary strides to be ready when KMMG goes into production later this year.
“The Kia Way is a philosophy built on continuous improvement and teamwork,” he said. “People are the heart and soul of this company. With everyone on board subscribing to our philosophy, we hope to make every day a little better than the day before.”
Currently, KMMG has approximately 450 team members hired to build the next-generation Kia Sorento. Jackson stated that hiring is still ongoing and that KMMG should be at about 1,000 team members by the start of production in the last quarter of 2009.
“We have hundreds of our team members involved in post hire training at the Kia Georgia Training Center in West Point. At the same time, we have numerous prospective team members going through their pre-hire assessment training there as well,” Jackson said. “In other words, our state-of-the-art $20 million training center is a very busy place. It is hard to find a parking space these days.”
Hundreds of KMMG team members have already gone for training to Kia facilities in Korea and to Kia’s manufacturing facility in Slovakia. Those trips are expected to continue with more and more team members getting that firsthand experience using the actual equipment they will be working with in Georgia.
“It is a huge advantage for our team members to gather valuable experience from our Kia experts abroad,” he said. “These trips allow our team members the chance to further their training while also broadening their cultural horizons.”
Jackson said that the ability of the workforce to adapt to automotive was initially a concern because of the lack of automotive experience in an area that has been dominated by textiles for so long.
“What we’ve discovered is that the work ethic in this region is second to none,” he said. “People here were raised on the principles of hard work and those values have translated into a successful transition into the automotive industry.”
Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) is the first manufacturing site in North America for Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, Korea. KMMG is located on 2,200 acres in West Point, Georgia, and is scheduled to begin production in the last quarter of 2009. At full capacity, the plant will have the ability to produce 300,000 vehicles annually and employ approximately 2,500 team members.