By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
BLUE SPRINGS – Toyota has said that anyone is welcome to apply for jobs and its work force is a mix of people with diverse backgrounds.
Enter Karen Bowen of Columbus, who’s spent the past five years working for a chiropractor.
On Monday, she began orientation with Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi, where she’ll be trained as a quality control inspector.
“When I heard about Toyota, I thought I would have greater opportunity – and the benefits are great,” she said with a smile.
The plant is scheduled to begin production of Toyota’s popular Corolla sedan in the fall with about 1,200 employees. When TMMMS is fully operational, that number should reach 2,000.
Forty-two of them started Monday. Among them was Bowen, who began orientation and training at the plant.
TMMMS spokeswoman Emily Wilemon-Holland said 82 employees – Toyota calls them “team members” – will join the plant this month, including 48 production workers, 14 skilled maintenance workers and 20 salaried workers, who will fill supervisory and administrative spots in production control, body operations and paint and assembly.
By the end of the month, plant employment will be 259, she said.
Bowen, who will commute from Columbus, also is among the first batch of production workers to start this month.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “I applied in October and it took a couple of weeks before I heard from them.”
She went through an assessment and interview before being hired, a process she said wasn’t as long as she thought it would take.
“It was different, but it actually went by pretty quickly,” she said.
After a four-week orientation, Bowen and the other new hires at TMMMS will be trained at other Toyota plants in the U.S.
The orientation and training process will continue until the plant has what it needs. So far, more than 26,000 have applied for jobs.
“We are really pleased with the first January class of 2011,” said David Copenhaver, TMMMS’ vice president of administration. “They are a great addition to our growing Toyota Mississippi family and are representative of the quality of the work force we have experienced in Mississippi.”
Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Anyone interested in employment opportunities at Toyota’s Blue Springs plant may apply online at www.mdes.ms.gov. People who need help with the application process or access to an Internet-accessible computer can visit any Mississippi WIN Job Center.