Volkswagen Academy opens doors - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Volkswagen Academy opens doors

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - The people who will build Volkswagens in Chattanooga now have a place to learn.

The new state-of-the-art training center we've heard so much about is open.

Already, Volkswagen has received more than 65,000 applications.  They plan to hire just 500 more employees by the end of the year. Those new hires will train here.

Things are moving fast at Volkswagen.  Just this week, they tested the new Chattanooga car; the images of which stay a secret for a few more months.

While the plant is about year from opening, the training will hit a new gear soon.

It's called the "Volkswagen Academy", the place new VW employees will receive hands on training.

"We have a new plant, new parts, new product with our new vehicle, and all new people," says Gary Booth, VW Manager of Human Resource Development.

VW currently employees 750 workers and plans to increase it's workforce to 1,300 by December.

"We know that the time and effort workers will invest in learning new skills at this facility will be returned to them in the form of marketable skills and increased earning power," explains Matt Kisber, from Tennessee Economic and Community Development.

New employees will have access to 19 modern classrooms in the 163,000 square foot facility.

And a partnership with local universities increases the chances for local workers.

"Our partners are Chattanooga State and UTC. We are glad to have such high qualified partners. Together with them we will train our workforce," says Guenther Scherelis from Volkswagen Group of America.

VW officials call the academy a "gateway" to their plan to build the company's first mid-sized sedan designed for the US market.

"A lot of the future of Chattanooga and VW depends on your skills, your diligence, and your ability to make that product the best in the world and it comes from Chattanooga Tennessee, built by you. That's the future, that's what we've got to do," Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey remarked during the opening.

In addition to preparing employees for work, the academy will host a vocational program and provide meeting facilities for outside groups.

As for the plant itself, Friday VW officials announced their plan is on track. The first vehicle is slated to roll off the assembly line early next year.

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