Gov. Robert Bentley smiled, shook hands and presented gifts during a ceremony welcoming Toyota Boshoku America to west Alabama on Wednesday morning.
But there was at least one person hidden in the background even happier the company is here. Bellinda Walker says the company is a big deal to her family.
"I was actually unemployed at the time. I was going to school and getting my skills back up to par. And they called me in," she said.
Walker was the first person hired by the company since it moved to Vance in March. Starting in May, the company will hire 36 more people.
Toyota Boshoku America is a Japanese company that makes interior car parts for Mercedes Benz vehicles, including seats, door trims and instrument panels.
Gov. Bentley says those jobs are highly skilled and well paid.
"These are the types of jobs we're training for in Alabama. These are the ones that we've encouraging students and encouraging parents across the state to encourage their children to get involved with these types of jobs," Bentley said.
Boshoku wants skilled workers who could fit into several roles.
Todd Sousa, Senior General Manager of Toyota Boshoku, describes a variety of skills they're new employees will need.
"To lift parts. To do certain jobs and convey parts and load trucks. And then additionally there'll be positions the Governor spoke of that require math and science and accounting," Sousa said.
The governor says workforce training for the next generation of Alabama workers needs to start in grades K through 12. He believes newly-passed workforce training legislation from the state legislature will help do that.
"We're putting together business and education and industry all together so business can tell education what the needs out there are," Bentley said.
Production of interior car parts at the Mercedes supplier begins this summer. The company will make parts for a fifth vehicle being built at Vance's Mercedes plant.
Walker expects those jobs could be filled quickly.
"I'm sure it will be very competitive because a lot of people are looking for employment," she said.
If you're interested in applying for any of the jobs offered by Boshoku, you can call Excelsior Staffing at (205) 815-0776 and ask for Nancy Entrekin.
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