The new GreenPower Motor Co. (NASDAQ: GP) electric vehicle plant coming to South Charleston, W.Va., brings with it a potential for about 900 jobs.
A partnership between GreenPower, the Workforce Development Board of Kanawha County, and BridgeValley Community & Technical College is expected to provide local workers the opportunity to train for those new jobs building trucks and school and transit buses.
Brendan Riley, president of GreenPower, said during a news conference on Tuesday at the community college that “we understand promises made in the past of other companies setting up shop that haven’t come through. We are not here to waste anybody’s time. We’re here to build these vehicles and be part of the community.”
Riley described the South Charleston project as “a long-term plan” and that he expects transit buses, school buses, and other battery-electric vehicles to roll off the production line by the end of the year.
Casey Sacks, president of BridgeValley, said the college is “delighted to support GreenPower with workforce training programs in preparation for the opening of their new manufacturing facility in West Virginia.”
“BridgeValley has a strong history of partnering with local companies to train and prepare our citizens for great new jobs right here in West Virginia,” Sacks said. “We look forward to a highly successful partnership on this exciting and important initiative for our communities and the state of West Virginia.”
Kanawha County Commissioner Lance Wheeler, owner of Impact Realty, said those 900 potential jobs are more than just a number.
“When I hear 900 jobs, I hear 900 new opportunities for citizens to provide for their kids and their families, and that brings me excitement,” Wheeler said.
Julie Norman, executive director of the Workforce Development Board, couldn’t attend Tuesday’s news conference. However, the organization’s marketing and outreach manager, Derek Vance, delivered remarks on her behalf.
“Today is a momentous day, the beginning of something special,” Vance said, adding that local banks, schools, restaurants, and local retailers will benefit for years to come.