Program aims to fill thousands of jobs in Alabama’s auto industry

The Shift program allows job seekers to apply for all positions throughout the auto industry.
Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 7:53 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama’s automotive industry is all gas, no breaks, with the most recent expansion happening Tuesday, as electric vehicle parts company Shinhwa Auto USA Corp. announced plans to invest millions to expand its operations in Auburn. The growth will create 50 new jobs.

This will be Shinhwa’s third expansion in Alabama. The company will invest $114 million to expand its manufacturing operation in Auburn to support the production of electric vehicle parts

There are also statewide efforts to expand employment in the auto industry by the thousands. One of those is a program called Shift that allows job seekers to apply for all positions throughout the auto industry.

There are 11,000 jobs currently available in Alabama’s automotive industry. Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said no college degree is needed to apply.

“We’re talking about raising that level of awareness for people that are already in the workforce, who are unhappy in their current job, to think about shifting to new opportunities. And that’s what Shift is all about,” said Canfield.

The Shift program features recruitment and training opportunities for the 150 auto companies in Alabama.

The auto industry is a key driver for the state economy, with 47,000 people employed in the industry.

“They’re making new investments and expanding all of the time in our state,” said Canfield.

According to Canfield, these jobs will benefit potential employees, ass well as the cities where the companies locate, like Auburn.

Auburn Mayor Ron Anders said they collect occupational tax, so a portion of their payrolls go back to the city.

“And so they get a good job with good benefits, and we get a portion of their payroll that helps us pay for good schools and police officers and road improvements,” said Anders.

Anders described Auburn as a regional hub for the automotive industry, calling it a geographic “sweet spot” in its proximity to the Kia and Hyundai plants, plus the Atlanta airport.

Anders said he expects the industry to continue to grow.

“Our foot is squarely on the gas and we’ll continue to look for great companies that are a great fit for our community,” he said.

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