North Alabama workers comprise about half of the workforce at Carpenter Technology’s steel production facility under construction in Tanner.
Jim America with Carpenter Human Resources said about 20 employees have been hired so far. He said Carpenter’s goal is to hire 50 employees by the end of March and 75 to 80 employees by June 30.
To be eligible for up to $1 million in reimbursements from Limestone County for costs accrued during facility development, Carpenter must meet specific employment benchmarks: 50 full-time employees by July 2014, 100 by July 2015 and 200 by July 2016.
The facility is expected to create about 250 full-time jobs.
Limestone County Commission Chair Stanley Menefee said Carpenter seems to be keeping its promise of providing local jobs.
“They are trying to stay within a 50-mile radius,” he said.
Most of the employees hired so far will work in the facility’s laboratory, expected to be complete by year’s end.
The production staff will be hired in three phases. The first phase begins next month, when Carpenter human resources begins selecting candidates for training a few nights a week at the nearby Alabama Robotics Technology Park starting in January. Not everyone will be offered a job.
“They will learn about the company, and we will assess their skills and find the top performers,” America said. “We’ll offer letters at the end of February, which should give them enough time to put in notices at their jobs and start in March.”
Carpenter received about 1,400 resumes for jobs at the Limestone facility, with thousands more expected.
The jobs will be advertised through the Alabama Industrial Development Training program’s website, AIDT.com, and in local newspapers.
America said the local workforce has been fruitful. Decatur City Hall’s first information technology director, Todd Russell, was hired as Carpenter’s manufacturing systems manager. Former Ascend Performance Materials employee Stan Moore was hired as the maintenance manager.
“Calhoun has been a great resource,” he said, referring to the community college almost within walking distance of the facility. “It’s a great source of highly skilled people who are in the workforce or will soon be in the workforce.”
The facility will be capable of remelting, forging, finishing and testing steel alloys. It’s expected to produce 27,000 tons of product per year.
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