Savannah Tech to Continue Training Despite Daimler Delay - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/09/03

Savannah Tech to Continue Training Despite Daimler Delay

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue released a statement this afternoon, reacting to DaimlerChrysler's decision to delay its vote on the proposed van plant in Pooler. In it, he said, "I spoke with DaimlerChrysler officials in Stuttgart today and they informed me that a final decision on the Sprinter van facility to be built in Pooler, Georgia will be delayed. This type of delay was not unexpected. Pooler is the location of choice and we remain hopeful of a green light decision this year."

Governor Perdue met with DaimlerChrsyler officials last month in Germany and was given a tour of the plant there. The governor isn't the only one still hopeful the company will decide to build in Pooler. So are those who are already counting on getting hired. The plant is expected to bring more than 3,300 jobs with it and generate thousands more support jobs.

The work at the proposed site is still going on and the work is also moving ahead to prepare DaimlerChrysler's potential employees. Savannah Technical College says Daimler's announcement will have no effect on the school's efforts to create a trained workforce.

Students right now are taking the certified manufacturing specialist program at Savannah Tech. It's considered to be the first step toward a manufacturing career and many are hoping it will lead them to jobs with DaimlerChrysler.

"Right now, DaimlerChrysler is the big thing," said student Ron Riley. "That's what's on everybody's mind right now."

Riley has been in the medical profession since he was 19. When he learned DaimlerChrysler could be coming to Pooler, he decided to try something new.

"That's what I'm looking for. Going to try, anyway," he said.

Keoiness Brown sees it as an opportunity to stay close to home and have a great job.

"When this DaimlerChrysler opportunity came up, it seemed like a good idea where I could stay home, and with me being an only child, stay here and take care of my mother," Brown said.

Instructor Jase Redick says DaimlerChrysler is the motivating force for all these students.

"Everyone you see, they're all here because of that," said Redick.

Over the past several months, enrollment and interest at Savannah Tech has boomed, but the school does not believe Daimler's decision will derail that.

"We're continuing to see folks positively return to Savannah Technical College with record enrollments for the last ten quarters, so we're still very optimistic about our enrollment this fall," said the school's president, Dr. CB Rathburn

Dr. Rathburn says DaimlerChrysler's decision to delay an official announcement won't change the type of courses they offer this fall, but the school may choose to offer fewer sections of each course.

"This actually gives us a little bit of breathing room," Dr. Rathburn said. "We were going to have to have an awful lot of programs up and running very fast and this gives us a little flexibility in those decisions."

Dr. Rathburn says there are still plenty of other opportunities for growth in our area, including JCB, Georgia Pacific, Gulfstream, and Ten-Core in Effingham County. But as far as DaimlerChrysler goes, we'll have to wait it out a little longer.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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