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Stamping plant hiring announcements to be made 'shortly'

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Gestamp North America is in the process of establishing a hiring process for work at the South Charleston stamping plant, a company official said Wednesday.

The company is not yet accepting job applications but officials expect to make announcements about hiring shortly, said John Craig, president of Gestamp North America.

"Some [positions will be filled] immediately and others toward the fourth quarter of this year," Craig said. "It's a typical ramp-up process."

West Virginia Secretary of Commerce Keith Burdette said Tuesday that the state has offered to handle job applications through Workforce West Virginia but that those details haven't been worked out.

Initially, the company will hire 300 to 400 workers with the potential for more later, Craig said.

The company has its headquarters in Madrid, Spain. The North American headquarters are in Troy, Mich. The South Charleston facility will be the sixth manufacturing location for Gestamp in the United States. It also has three in Mexico.

One of the U.S. manufacturing plants is in a business park near McCalla, Ala. The plant manufactures metal parts for Mercedes and employs between 250 and 500 workers depending on demand from Mercedes, said Ronnie Acker, a member of the Jefferson County (Ala.) Economic and Industrial Development Authority.

The jobs there pay between $50,000 and $120,000 annually, with a median income of $79,000.

"Their plant is clean," Acker said. "They are in a park that has required that all of the facilities in the park are well-maintained. They maintain their building to a high standard. There are no complaints from the neighbors about Gestamp or [from] any tenants at the industrial park and there are residential areas all around them."

The company brought in a management team from out-of-state but otherwise hired many local employees, Acker said.

"I would think that if I had Gestamp on its way to my area, I would be happy," he said.

The South Charleston facility will make parts for Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota and General Motors, Craig said.

"We've been awarded some new contracts with Honda and Ford, and they'll be launched for the [South] Charleston location," he added.

Craig said West Virginia was chosen because of the existing facility and equipment there.

"[We were] looking for the right size building that logistically worked for the customers we serve," he said. "With the existing equipment in the Charleston facility, it was a good fit for Gestamp."

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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