MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Flush with its success in recruiting the auto industry, the state of Alabama faces a challenge: delivering more than 14,000 qualified and trained automotive workers by 2005.
Alabama's burgeoning automotive sector will create a hiring tidal wave in the next 36 months. The state will recruit and train the work forces of the four automakers that have moved to Alabama. It also will provide the service to the automakers' supply chain.
But automakers don't just want more workers; they want them to have better skills.
Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc. in Vance, Ala., is requiring its suppliers to comb through job applications more cautiously. Mercedes officials say the company is asking the state to improve the quality of the employees it funnels to the parts companies around the state and to provide additional training for them.
"Things are getting more competitive here," said Emmett Meyer, Mercedes' vice president of human resources. "We still have a very adequate supply of people. But when you think about what's going to happen in the future and also the influx of more suppliers into the area, you realize we've got to start getting ready now."