It is time for SK Battery America in Commerce, Ga., to rent the primary 1,000 staff it might want to begin making electrical car batteries in 2021. However SK has a particular problem: How do you rent and practice a brand new work pressure in the midst of a lethal pandemic?
SK is not the one firm checking out the unprecedented complication. Employees from Detroit to Dallas are a bit of hesitant to return in for job interviews nowadays.
“The largest problem we face is as a result of pandemic,” mentioned Jade Park, the battery venture’s human sources supervisor. “Now we have to be very cautious and really inventive in all the pieces we’re doing in recruiting, interviewing and coaching. It slows issues down a bit of bit, however it has gotten the inventive concepts flowing.”
SK, a South Korean electronics, vitality and EV battery provider, is investing $2.6 billion to assemble a plant north of Atlanta to provide battery programs for Volkswagen and Ford Motor Co. However to construct these programs, the plant wants a piece pressure.
On high of the primary 1,000 folks, SK will rent 1,600 extra staff within the months to comply with. The venture initially set its head rely wants at 2,000. However because the pandemic took maintain, SK’s enterprise forecast grew. It elevated its funding plans for the location, and it upped its hiring must 2,600 by 2024.
Creating a big manufacturing unit work pressure is a large enterprise even underneath regular circumstances. Auto plant tasks require state and native businesses to shoulder a lot of the hassle, together with involvement from native technical schools and third-party employment companies.
Recruitment drives have been even more durable over the previous two years due to document low U.S. unemployment, a nationwide scarcity of accessible staff and rising competitors from massive, well-paying nonmanufacturing employers, reminiscent of Amazon and The Residence Depot.
However issues have gotten even hairier now.
Earlier than the pandemic arrived, SK held a preliminary job honest to get out the phrase about its upcoming hiring alternatives. About 400 folks got here to an auditorium at Lanier Technical Faculty, a close-by public tech college that shall be dealing with SK’s coaching efforts. It was a full of life social occasion with refreshments and quite a lot of hand-shaking and shut interactions.
Quick-forward to the coronavirus period: This month, SK is holding one other job honest on the faculty — however this time it is out within the car parking zone.
“It is a drive-through job honest,” Park mentioned. “We’re all conserving our distance from one another.”