West Point KIA boosts local morale

By Chris Vessell bio | email

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - West Point KIA is moving forward with hiring, but the impact of the new jobs perhaps extend far beyond the manufacturing plant. Construction is still ongoing at the West Point KIA plant, but perhaps the largest progress is the building up of confidence in the area.

"With the suppliers as well. Several of them are starting to hire employees. It's something people get optimistic about, and look forward to and we're starting to see some signs," said Cary Baldwin, Industrial Development Board.

The West Point KIA Plant has hired more than 500 employees so far, and the Human Resources Director says 600 hundred more jobs will be filled by December. Cary Baldwin with Industrial Development Board in Chambers County is hopeful.

"When you're in the different businesses in the area, and you see new faces and a lot of people in this area, it's amazing because people see there is such potential," Baldwin said. Additional auto suppliers like those that have settled in the Cusetta Industrial Park in Chambers County are also hiring hundreds of employees.

"We've been able to locate five suppliers down in the Cusetta Chambers County Park.  So that's been good. Of course West Point and Harris County - they've recruited some of the auto suppliers as well," said Baldwin.

Local leaders say there is potential to attract even more suppliers before the KIA plant starts production sometime in December of this year. "This whole corridor is going to be really strong when you look at the effect KIA and other suppliers are going to have on this area - it's tremendous,"

The KIA plant plans to start trial runs during the next one to two weeks. The trial runs are designed to test equipment and train employees.