GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Putting the help wanted sign out isn’t enough these days.
Just ask LG Energy Solutions-Holland CEO Bon Chul Koo.
“Still kind of suffering for hiring more people. … Hiring 1,200 is more challenging,” Koo told News 8 on Tuesday, the day the state approved million in incentives for the plant’s $1.7 million expansion.
Twelve hundred is the number of people LG needs to add over the next three years, as expansion plans at the battery manufacturer ramp up to keep up with expected demand for the batteries that power electric vehicles.
Enter Grand Rapid Community College’s planned Battery Bootcamp.
“It’s a huge opportunity for West Michigan here to lead — in the nation, if not the world — in what we’re doing,” said Julie Parks, the executive director of workforce training at Grand Rapids Community College.
She’s working with LG on the program.
“They’re sharing their knowledge with our faculty and staff, and we’re building new programs in battery and energy storage that we didn’t have before,” Parks said. “It’s not just LG. Their suppliers are in our local community. So, it’s really more than 1,200 jobs we’re going to have to fill.”
The program will offer students a degree or certificate in battery manufacturing and power storage, as well as training in other areas of the operation.
“It’s not just batteries they need. They need people in HVAC. They need safety experts. They need quality control people. It’s a very tight ship that they have to run when you’re making energy storage systems,” Parks said. “Their plant is extremely automated. So, who are the people that program those? Who are the engineers that fix that? There’s all level of jobs. “
GRCC is kicking in $14.5 million for workforce development as part of a state incentive package that’s expected to total out to $525 Million when it’s all said and done.
“This is part of the Michigan New Jobs Training Program, so once they’re hired by LG Chem, a portion of their payroll taxes come back to the college and are used for training,” Parks said.
GRCC offers potential students a chance to come in and learn more about the kinds of work a job requires, along with the pay and other details, every Monday at 10:00 a.m. and by appointment.
To learn more, go to grcc.edu.