Stephen Arnold showed up at the Columbus Career Center this morning with the hope he would get the chance to provide for his family again.
The 35-year-old husband and father of three was laid off from a foreclosure company three months ago. Since then, the Newnan man has picked up a few side jobs, but nothing permanent. His wife, a homemaker, had to start working at a hardware store to help provide for their kids, ages 2, 7 and 9.
“It’s been horrible, scary,” Arnold said. “I’m trying to get work all over the place and haven’t gotten anything.”
“But I’m an optimist,” he said.
As a steady rain fell across the city, Arnold waited outside the career center along with more than 880 people hoping to get hired by Hyundai Mobis. The company, a Kia supplier, held a job fair at the Georgia Department of Labor’s Columbus location to find about 250 employees for second-shift production jobs at its new factory in West Point.
Marshall Murray, human resources manager at the Mobis plant, said they were expecting a large crowd. When he arrived in the morning, he saw a line through the parking lot and down Seventh Street.
The manager said he was pleased with the volume of applicants. “It gives us good folks to pick from,” he said.
In August 2007, South Korea-based Hyundai Mobis announced it was constructing a $60 million factory next to the main Kia facility and creating 600 jobs. Mobis has already hired 240, including administrative and first shift production workers.
Murray said after they hire the wave of 250, the plant should be fully operational. Whether they will hire more will depend on Kia’s production.
“There’s no firm plan we will get to 600,” he said.
Workers at the factory make front, rear and cockpit chassis modules for the Kia Sorento crossover vehicle that is being manufactured at the main Kia plant, which began production in November.
At today’s fair, job seekers filed applications and underwent basic interviews. Murray said though manufacturing experience — specifically automotive-related — was preferred, attitude and willingness to learn was what they were really looking for.
“Attitude is most important,” he said. “The rest of the skills are those we train on.”
Salary ranges from $10.50 to $15.75 an hour.
Mark Hercules, 25, had applied for a job with Kia several months ago, but never got a call back. Now armed with a college certificate, Hercules said he hoped that would make him a more competitive candidate. The Columbus man received a certificate in carpentry from Columbus Technical College three weeks ago. He said he plans to obtain a second one in industrial system technology.
“I think this time around I may have a better chance,” he said. “I’m pretty confident. I’m a pretty smart guy. I think I can get through interviews.”
Mobis will choose applicants from the pool to undergo pre-employment training. Once their skills are assessed, those who are chosen to go on will go through an in-depth interview.
Once applicants are notified of their hire, they will be required to undergo four days of training.
Murray said Mobis expects its second shift to be in production by the middle of this year.