FORT VALLEY, Ga. — Blue Bird is adding 200 more employees for a new second shift in its body assembly plant.
“Bus delivery for school start is a priority for our customers,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp., noting that Blue Bird has increased production in its Fort Valley plant by more than 50% over recent years to meet customer demand. “Adding a second shift will enable us to build more buses in the spring and summer seasons, ensuring our buses are delivered in time for the new school year and helping us continue to grow our market share.”
Each new Blue Bird employee will receive training through Quick Start, Georgia’s workforce development program. The Quick Start training for Blue Bird employees initially includes 40 hours of manufacturing skills with an additional 40 hours of welding, fabrication, and process software applications training. Leadership development, lean manufacturing, quality, and safety training is provided in addition to technical job skills for the second-shift employees.
“For more than 15 years, Quick Start has been a proud partner with Blue Bird, providing customized training wherever and whenever it was needed,” said Jackie Rohosky, head of Quick Start and assistant commissioner for the Technical College System of Georgia’s Economic Development Programs. “Along with Central Georgia Technical College, our commitment to supporting Blue Bird continues today with customized training in computer software, advanced welding, and much more. The company’s success is Georgia’s success, and that will always remain our focus.”
“Our training program prepares each employee before he or she steps into the plant,” said John McKowen, vice president of manufacturing for Blue Bird. “This is a great program for us, and we really appreciate the support that the state of Georgia has provided to Blue Bird as we hire new employees at a fast pace.”
In 2015, Blue Bird built nearly 10,400 buses in its 1 million square-foot facility. The OEM expects to build between 10,800 and 11,000 buses this year.