Continental Tire preparing its workforce before production begin - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Continental Tire preparing its workforce before production begins at Clinton facility

CLINTON, MS (WLBT) -

Continental Tire's Clinton plant is still a work in progress. But there's a pending timeline that will mean more jobs for the area.

They'll have around 80-90 employees by the end of the year. That will ramp up to 250 by the end of 2019. Meanwhile, they've partnered up with Hinds Community College so that employees aren't starting from square one on day one.

"It used to be all about location, location, location," said David Creel, Hinds Community College Vice President for Workforce Development, Career and Technical Education. "Today it's about workforce, workforce, workforce."

Three Hinds students were just selected for the internship program. They'll spend the next two months at the Continental plant in Mount Vernon, Illinois learning the ropes for maintenance technicians.

"And then after my last semester of school when I get my degree, I'll start a full-time job with them hopefully," said intern Zachary Spell.

Spell will be getting his first industrial work experience. Up to this point, he's been focused on electrical work. He'd heard about the plant but didn't realize he'd end up being part of it.

"My interviewers at Continental actually started off maintenance and is now an engineer," noted Spell. "So, I'd be really excited to be pushed to become more than just part of the maintenance staff."

The internship program is yet another way Continental is not only making a commitment in the state to jobs but getting the training for those workers.

"The success of this facility, part of the success of this facility, will be experience and a skilled workforce," said HR Manager Marco Will.

The training center is the first building to go up on the site. It will eventually look like this. But even still, workers will travel to prepare for production on this site.

"First group of operators will get trained overseas at one of our mature plants because it's not possible to mirror all the equipment we will have later on in the facility in the training center because the equipment is much too expensive and of course much too big," added Will.

Continental has committed to paying tuition for the second year at Hinds for the interns. While a job isn't guaranteed, it's likely. The 2017 interns have returned to the Mt. Vernon facility as employees for more training until the Clinton plant is complete.

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