Rendering for Emerald Automotive's new delivery van.
By Courtney Gousman
Hazelwood, MO (KSDK) - Since we first reported on Emerald Automotive's plan to set up shop in Hazelwood, the prospect of economic growth has dominated the conversation. On Wednesday, the company announced its plan to create just under 600 jobs by building a production plant for its electric commercial van in Hazelwood.
The talk started online and has spread through the community. Many are optimistic, some skeptical, but both groups keep coming back to the same questions. When are the jobs coming?
NewsChannel 5 spoke with Emerald Automotive CEP Andy Tempest to find out more about when they expect to start hiring. The station has already received stacks of emails, and even a resume, from those interested in jobs with Emerald. All of them came from former Chrysler workers.
"The worst part is no benefits. That's what's hurting the worst," said William Zinselmeier, a former Chrysler employee.
It's been two years since Zinselmeier left Chrysler's Fenton plant, just months before the plant closed. He said it's been hard trying to find a job that could even come close to his $28 an hour gig with Chrysler.
"Those jobs are just not out there and that's why I welcome this Emerald," Zinselmeier said.
"I was, 'Yeah! Come on! Bring them to St. Louis,'" said Deborah Gegg, another former Chrysler worker. "I just grab whatever I can, so I'm working at Walmart right now."
William and Deborah are among the many former Chrysler workers who wanted to know more about these future jobs with Emerald.
"We need to have hired them at least six months before production. So effectively, a sort of major ramp-up in early 2013," said Tempest.
Right now, the company is looking to fill 13 administrative positions.
It's not until 2013 when Emerald executives plan to have line workers in place, creating a total of 290 jobs. By 2014, that number jumps to 581, with line workers being 90 percent of that workforce.
"We're looking for automotive assembly workers. It's more labor intensive, these vehicles are more hand built," said Tempest.
Tempest said these are union jobs. Line workers will have two shifts, most likely an early and later day-shift.
"We respect these skilled workers and assembly workers that have been working for Ford and Chrysler there will be certain expectations," Tempest said. "We'll pay good, if not well above average wages."
Emerald's CEO says the plan is to put together a liason team in St. Louis that will be up and running by September or October of this year.
Keep in mind, the company is still developing its website, and currently there's no place to send resumes or applications.