MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - There’s a new push, with a big payoff, to recruit more students to work at one of Alabama’s car manufacturing plants. A new scholarship will be awarded to 50 students who pursue that career.
Alabama's automotive sector has really taken off over the last 20 years; it's now the 3rd largest in the country, and still growing. In the next two years, 10,000 automotive jobs will be available in this state, now the industry needs the people to fill those jobs.
“There's a huge need, never seen before in our state, and these are great jobs,” said JeffnL Lynn, Vice Chancellor of Workforce Development for the Alabama Community College System. “We have so many automotive manufacturing company jobs in the state of Alabama, especially with the expansion of Mazda-Toyota in Huntsville area.”
This scholarship is all about recruiting people now, people in Alabama, helping them get the education and training they need, and developing a strong work force in the state.
“These are great careers, where a student can come out of high school, take 2 years of education at one of our community colleges, and start with a salary of around $55,000 a year,” Lynn said.
That's just how it worked for Michael McDaniel, now a plant engineer at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama.
“I started the spring of 2017 at Trenholm, I did two years and recently graduated in December,” explained McDaniel. “Got a degree in industrial maintenance.”
The new scholarship, a partnership between the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association and the Alabama Community College System, is an effort to attract more workers like Michael.
“The scholarship is really to enhance the opportunity for our students to get a great career in Alabama,” Lynn said.
The auto industry play a big role in Alabama’s bottom line. Every job at a plant like Hyundai, Mercedes, Honda, and Mazda-Toyota, actually creates five to six other jobs in the community. These are jobs in a clean and safe atmosphere, with great benefits, that are growing wealth in the state of Alabama, according to Lynn.
A total of $180,000 will be awarded to 50 students who have at least a 2.5 GPA. The scholarship money has go toward one of 14 automotive-related programs that are offered at community colleges in nearly every corner of the state.
The deadline to apply for this scholarship is Feb. 28. Apply here.