West Point, Ga. May 16, 2008 — Georgia legislators and West Georgia community and economic development leaders praised the partnership between Georgia Quick Start and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc., during a visit Thursday to the Kia Georgia Training Center in West Point.
“Partnerships are especially important to this joint economic development and tourism committee, and this is an incredible opportunity to see them in action at this facility,” said Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Sav.), committee chairman. “This is the fruition of people working together. There’s a reason Expansion Management has ranked Georgia No. 1 in workforce training — we’ve got everything that everybody else wants, and none of that happens without people working together as a team.”
Stephens was part of a group of lawmakers and community leaders touring the West Georgia region, which is rapidly changing due to the building of the new Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc., auto assembly facility and the 10 supplier companies that have already announced their intention to locate in the area. “The impact of Kia and the suppliers locating in Georgia will be unprecedented for our state,” said Ken Stewart , commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “It is already changing lives. The training, the jobs, the payroll will all add up to thousands of proud and prosperous Georgia families.”
The Kia Georgia Training Center is the first completed building associated with Kia’s auto plant, which is scheduled to open in 2009. Interviews and pre-employment training and assessments for potential Kia production and maintenance team members are already taking place at the training center, which was designed though a collaborative effort between Kia and Quick Start, Georgia’s premier workforce development program.
“This project is helping to change and develop the state’s entire overall workforce,” said Jackie Rohosky, assistant commissioner of economic development programs for the Technical College System of Georgia, who oversees Quick Start. “Five technical colleges in the area are already deeply involved in developing a sophisticated automotive workforce. In addition, the scope of these projects — their technical requirements and the necessary training solutions — are also bringing in technical colleges from Rome to Savannah to Albany, all across the state. This is truly having a statewide impact.”
At the Kia Georgia Training Center, legislators got a first-hand look at the custom-designed selection and assessment process developed for the company by Quick Start, including an industry-first, 100 percent-online application process.
“Many in the automotive industry have tried, and failed, to have a totally online application – we are the first to reach that goal,” said Randy Jackson, Kia’s director of human resources. “In 30 days, we broke another automotive record, receiving more than 43,000 applications; other companies are trying to figure it out, but they don’t have Quick Start.”
At the end of the tour, Sen. Jack Murphy (R-Cumming) summed up the feelings of the other members of the House and Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee who had visited the center.
“This is intense,” Murphy said after viewing a presentation of the assessment and hiring process Quick Start designed for Kia. “I’ve always been a big fan of Quick Start, and everybody has really done a great job to make this building and this process happen.”
For Craig Lesser, the former commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development who led the state’s team that helped bring Kia to Georgia, the Kia Georgia Training Center represents a gratifying culmination of those efforts.
“For me to come back to this facility now, having worked with Quick Start and Kia from the beginning, I could not be more pleased,” Lesser said. “This facility ignites excitement in everyone associated with it.”
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.