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Kia to reopen application process for production, maintenance jobs

Kia Motors announced today it will reopen the application process for production and maintenance workers at its new West Point, Ga., assembly plant.

That's good news for folks in the Chattahoochee Valley looking for employment.

The South Korean automobile manufacturer has hired 1,200 employees over the last year. Most of those workers -- about 950 employees -- were hired from more than 43,000 applications received online in February of last year. The salaries range from more than $14 an hour to about $27 an hour.

Pre-production for the Kia Sorento, a mini Sports Utility Vehicle, has started. The car is expected to go into full production later this month. A second production line will be added early next year that will give the plant the capability to produce 300,000 vehicles a year.

Those interested in applying can go to www.kiajobsingeorgia.com.

Reopening the process makes sense, Kia Motors Georgia Vice President for Human Resources and Administration Randy Jackson said Tuesday morning.

"If you look back two years ago, there has been a lot of change," he said. "High school graduates, which you have to be to apply, were in the 10th grade. So, that's a one pool we didn't have. People who had just started vocational school have graduated. That's another pool. There have also been a lot of plant closings in the last two years."

The unemployment rate is also much higher than it was when Kia first opened the application process. The state’s unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in January 2007. Today, it’s about 10 percent. There are about 280,000 more Georgians looking for work.

In addition to new applicants, those who applied last year can go to the website and refresh their applications.

The decision to reopen the process has been discussed for several months. Jackson has hinted about in recent interviews. It was announced Monday afternoon to employees.

"We wanted them to spread the word to people they would want us to consider," Jackson said.

As before, the online-only application process was designed by Georgia Quick Start in partnership with Kia. Quick Start is also Kia’s partner in the operation of the Kia Georgia Training Center, which is the first stop for candidates invited to join the Kia team.

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