Open for Business

Last week General Motors announced they will start manufacturing the Chevrolet Equinox at its plant in Tennessee. They also plan to start producing additional midsized cars there in the near future. The $244 million investment is expected to create almost 1,900 jobs at the former Saturn plant located just outside of Nashville. To get the ball rolling, General Motors will initially invest $61 million and plans to generate nearly 700 jobs to begin producing the Equinox by July of 2012. The remaining $183 million will be invested to manufacture 2015 models of unnamed midsized vehicles and create another 1,200 jobs. GM officials would not say more in an attempt to keep their competition on their toes. The upcoming move will allow General Motors to react to the growing demand for a greater variety of models.

In Idaho things are less definite but hopes are just as high. Zonda USA, a Chinese manufacturer of electric buses plans to move its U.S. office to Boise, Idaho in the next year and eventually start producing its electric buses in the southwestern Idaho region. Although the Chinese corporation has refrained from announcing when and where a manufacturing plant would be built or just how many jobs the plant opening could create, local Idaho government officials are optimistic of the move but are also realistic in that nothing is definite yet and the process may take some time. At its Chinese plant, Zonda USA, a branch of Zhongda Industrial Group in the United States, can produce nearly 15,000 buses in a year with a workforce of about 6,900 employees. Zhonga decided on Idaho due to the fact that the region is located relatively close to Pacific Ocean shipping ports and conveys a business-friendly outlook. Elected Idaho officials realize the project is only in the beginning stages of becoming a full-fledged move to their region but that has not stopped them from growing eager about the possibility. Nampa, Idaho Mayor, Tom Dale, said, “They’re a prominent company in China, and the technology with these electric buses seems to be leading edge.” Only time will tell what will become of this project, but the hope is that it will boost the local economy and create thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

With the possibility of new manufacturing plants opening in the near future, plant managers need to be sure employees are trained and educated to their full potential. ITC learning is dedicated to providing full motion courseware, CD-ROM courses and online courseware that focus on essential industrial