Plant Produces Santa Fe SUV, Elantra Sedan, Sonata Sedan
When Hyundai announced in April it was planning to bring hundreds of new jobs to Montgomery, Ala., the news was met with excitement by local officials eager to boost the flagging economy.
But the reaction from job seekers has been nothing less than overwhelming.Almost 22,000 applicants met the June 2 deadline to file online for 877 new jobs coming to Hyundai's assembly plant. The jobs would add a third shift and bring the total job tally at the facility to more than 3,000.The 2-million square-foot manufacturing plant opened in 2005 and produces the Santa Fe SUV, the Elantra sedan, and the Sonata sedan.The new jobs are all production-line assembly jobs and maintenance positions. The production positions begin at $16.25 an hour; and maintenance positions will start at $22 an hour.Those new jobs will possibly help to cut into the 6.7% unemployment rate for the city of Montgomery. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Montgomery metro area ranked 141 out of 372 metropolitan areas in terms of unemployment.Hyundai is the area's fifth largest employer, according to the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce."While we are somewhat moving into recovery, people are still looking for jobs," said Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange in a phone interview with CNN last week.And nationwide, the employment situation seems to be deteriorating.Businesses hired only 69,000 in May, the weakest growth in a year. And the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 8.2%, the first uptick since last June.Meanwhile, millions of Americans continue to compete for limited jobs as employers are wary to hire in an economy showing signs of floundering.Overcoming the "skills gap:" Compounding the problem, employers are finding that candidates don't always meet the minimum qualification requirements.Even with the deluge of candidates for the Montgomery plant, Hyundai has had some issues finding qualified maintenance employees, according to company spokesman Robert Burns.Applicants have to go through a multistep process. One step includes a six-hour hands-on skills assessment so the company could understand how well they can follow written instructions or directions from managers, according to Burns.But despite the difficulties the Korean automaker may encounter in hiring skilled workers, the company says it continues to be committed to U.S. manufacturing in Alabama."The continued success of Hyundai's Sonata and Elantra in North America is a direct reflection to quality and craftsmanship...this commitment is the key reason Hyundai Motor Company chose to continue to invest in the people of Alabama and increase vehicle production in Montgomery," Hyundai president and chief executive officer Young Deuk Lim said in a statement.Training for these positions will begin in the summer and the three-shift production is expected to start in September.