Monday, April 04, 2011

LG Chem Starts Hiring For Battery Production

Boom! Just like that. Look at that building now, and hiring is just beginning. After the initial 100 senior tech openings, LG Chem will hire regular production workers too - an estimated 400 total jobs by 2013, and maybe more if GM ramps up production on the Volt and the electric Ford Focus takes off. Thanks go to WOOD for the video and story...

Nine months after President Barack Obama came to West Michigan to help break ground for the plant, Korean battery maker LG Chem is posting job openings.

Michigan Works is one of the agencies listing jobs for the Holland plant, posting 100 openings for senior technical operators. Hiring will begin later this month.

Officials at the Holland Michigan Works office say the full-time production-level jobs pay $18 to $19 an hour and require at least a high school diploma or GED.

A two- or three-year technical degree is preferred, but not required. Experience in a clean-room production environment, and working with automated equipment is another preference. Applicants will need a National Career Readiness Certificate and WorkKeys assessment, and additionally, some computer skills.

Contact Michigan Works for help on the assessment tests. These are not your typical factory line jobs, of course. High tech stuff. The Michigan Talent Bank will put up a detailed description of the jobs on April 12th, and LG Chem will begin accepting resumes after that.

LG Chem will begin taking resumes at a job fair, set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 26 at Ridge Point Church, 340 104th Ave., in Holland. A second fair is scheduled for the same hours, May 18 at Trillium Banquet Center.

LG Chem is looking to manufacture up to 60,000 batteries a year, and they claim that they can double capacity for production with a year's notice. They also predict that once mass manufacturing gets rolling, the price will drop by half within five to ten years.

A whole new industry, right before our eyes.

In other battery news - trouble may be on the horizon, as China announced last week that they are going to cap rare earths production (used in batteries as well as other green tech manufacturing) for 2011 at a five percent increase over last year, and this comes after slashing export quotas by 35% - a "decision (that) has choked off global supplies and driven prices up to record levels". In other words, they are keeping it for themselves in an effort to lure manufacturers there. Congress has introduced legislation to direct the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct a three-year international assessment on rare earths to look for new sources - which may lead to more mining here (Molycorp in California is the only US rare earths mine operating now).

Stay tuned - this may become a huge issue. Hope they can develop synthetics or alternative production methods in the future, until then, is it time to start talking about trade again?