JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The United States Labor Secretary visited Mississippi to check on what’s being done with workforce training at Continental Tire. Tire production won’t start on the Hinds County site until the start of next year.
A ticker is keeping the countdown inside the new training facility, and Friday, it was viewed by the U.S. Labor Secretary.
Governor Phil Bryant has frequently made this brag.
“There were states all across the United States and countries around the world hoping to get this plant," noted Bryant. "I’m proud to say today, Mr. Secretary, that Continental chose Mississippi.”
But Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta says there’s a key reason for that selection.
“So much of that answer is the support of the Governor’s office and the support of Hinds Community College,” explained Acosta.
Hinds Community College now has some graduates who once interned with Continental who are now employees, because they got in on the targeted training early.
“They have gone out to their business partners and asked, ‘what do you all need?’ We call it demand driven education," noted Acosta. "Education that responds to the demands of the workforce.”
Some of the employees who helped give Friday’s tour are former Hinds students, who have since trained at the Continental plant in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.
They were also able to show off the technology available while giving a sneak peak of the plant lay-out via virtual reality. And a drone helped give an idea of the scope of the project.
“I know you get to see it all over the country but this is so important to Mississippi,” said Bryant.
Secretary Acosta stressed how he’d like to continue to see more students exposed to options for career paths, whether that starts with a four*year degree or targeted skills training, like they’ll continue providing at this facility.
Eighty-three positions are filled currently, but by 2028, they expect to be employing more than 2,400. There’s also said to be room to add on to the facility in the future.