DaimlerChrysler Update - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/15/03

DaimlerChrysler Update

The proposed site near I-16 and I-95. The proposed site near I-16 and I-95.

It's been a while since the initial announcement, so what's the deal with DaimlerChrysler? There are tons of questions surrounding this big business right now. WTOC has been following the project's progress from the get go. When the news came down last year that DaimlerChrysler was coming to the Coastal Empire, thousands of people were thrilled, because it means a big boost for several different people and businesses. But lately, we haven't heard a whole lot. So we dug up some information.

Just off I-16 and I-95, you can see the DaimlerChrysler plant is well underway. Access roads are being put in place,  trucks are hauling loads of dirt by the dozens, and underground tubes are being put in place as well. About 200 acres of land is being developed. DaimlerChrysler has yet to make the official announcement that it is coming to the Coastal Empire. The Savannah Economic Development Authority president, Rick Winger, says he isn't worried, though.

"There's no reason to think they wouldn't be coming to Savannah," he said.

That's because the DaimlerChrysler board is expected to meet in just a few months and make its final decision.

"We are waiting, and have always been on the schedule that DaimlerChrysler board of directors will take this up and approve it in July," said Winger.

In the meantime, Savannah Technical College is preparing to offer its first training course this fall on how to become a certified manufacturing specialist. The school's president tells WTOC the classes will be offered at multiple sites in Effingham, Bryan, Liberty and Chatham Counties. But just because you complete the course doesn't mean you'll have a job at Daimler.

"Nothing guarantees a job," said the school's CB Rathburn. "But in order for you to take the next step in employment opportunities with Daimler, individuals will have to complete the CMS certification, so it is the first step in a three-step process in employment to Daimler."

And even for those who may not get hired at the plant, there will still be thousands of other jobs in the waiting.

"There's a multiplier here, so let's say for example, 4,000 jobs from the DC plant. There could be another 4,000 or 8,000 or 12,000 in our region that could be connected with that activity," said SEDA president Rick Winger. "A big boom. for the whole region."

If you are interested in working at what will soon be the multimillion dollar DaimlerChrysler plant, first you'll have to take an asset test through Savannah Technical College, and if you score well enough on that, you can take the certified manufacturing specialist course. In case you're wondering how the state's economy is expected to be impacted, Georgia Tech's Economic Development Institute says yearly, it's in the neighborhood of $2.5 billion.

The DaimlerChrysler board has a meeting scheduled for July 9, and the Savannah Economic Development Authority presumes they will take up this matter for a vote. And if it is approved, an announcement should follow shortly thereafter, but an official announcement date has not been confirmed.

Reported by: Dmitra Denmark, ddenmark@wtoc.com

Powered by Frankly