WEST POINT, Ga. — Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia is the gift that keeps giving jobs to the Chattahoochee Valley region.
Wednesday, Johnson Controls, a Kia supplier, celebrated its grand opening as the 300 employees watched a ceremony that included Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Johnson controls has been producing the seats for the Kia Sorentos, which are made just up the road. That production started last fall when Kia geared up.
As Kia expands to a second production line in the coming months, Johnson Controls plans to add an additional 115 hourly production jobs before the end of the summer.
Perdue, who points to the Kia plant as one of the highlights of his two terms, said the economic impact on Troup, Harris and Muscogee counties is undeniable.
“Kia has been the catalyst for a powerful chain of events,” Perdue said.
Kia plans to have about 3,500 employees in the next year. That is more than was anticipated when the project was announced four years ago.
That positive impact is spilling over to the suppliers. A year ago, Johnson Controls was originally thought be bringing about 250 jobs in the industrial park in northern Harris County, about 5 miles from the Kia plant.
Johnson Controls has made a $35 million economic development into the region.
“What we are seeing as Kia has announced the second shift hiring, the suppliers are responding with more jobs,” said the Valley Partnership’s top industrial recruiter Becca Hardin, an executive vice president with the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce.
The governor told the Johnson Control workers they were producing one of the most important components of the Sorento.
“When you spend a lot of time in a vehicle, what is the most important part?” the governor asked. “It’s the seat. If you keep people comfortable, they are going to keep buying those Sorentos.”
Perdue told the Johnson Controls workers to ride by the Kia plant if they want a feeling of job security.
“That should give you confidence you will have a job here for a long time,” Perdue said.
“As long as Kia is successful, everybody in this region will be successful,” Hardin said.
HOW TO APPLY FOR JOHNSON CONTROL JOBS
Call Kelly Services of LaGrange at 706 883-7771. The company takes applications on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at its office, 380 South Davis Road in LaGrange.