TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas — The Tesla "Gigafactory," which is set to be constructed in Travis County, is expected to bring 5,000 jobs with salaries starting at $35,000 annually.
The Austin Chamber of Commerce said Tesla will also bring thousands of new non-Tesla jobs due to its secondary economic effects.
"This is game-changing for Austin in a whole variety of ways. But I think of this as sort of an economic development trifecta," said Laura Huffman, the president and CEO of the Austin Chamber of Commerce. "Not only is Tesla going to add 5,000 jobs at a time when we're seeing high unemployment, but these jobs are going to be the kinds of jobs that lead to career pathways."
Huffman said the chamber also expects to see an influx in the Del Valle Independent School District, saying the area will "become the center of the transportation sector in innovation and technology."
Huffman said there will be a variety of jobs, including entry-level, needed at the Tesla site.
"We're looking at construction, engineering, manufacturing, operations, information technology and design," said Huffman. "And one of the things that I think is most beneficial to our community about Tesla coming to Austin is that, not only are they going to look for workforce from our community, from people that we have right here, right now, but they're going be partnering with local educators to make sure that the job training is in place. So we're going to be building skills in these areas as they build the site and as they hire their teams."
In a presentation to Austin City Council last week, Tesla described what it's looking for in its workforce.
"Number one, the factory will need a very diverse workforce. And two-thirds of that workforce will need to be entry-level. So those are production associates mainly and material handlers, and that kind of work requires a high school degree and a willingness to learn," said the Tesla representative.
He said Tesla also needs "the best engineers and scientists in the world."
On Thursday, Huston-Tillotson University released a statement saying the university would be working in partnership with Tesla:
"Huston-Tillotson University (HT) truly believes that Tesla’s new Gigafactory will undeniably transform our Austin community and impact so many of our lives for the better. The leadership teams from HT and Tesla met to discuss our business, pre-engineering, mathematics, and computer science academic programs. Our conversation morphed from discussion to actual strategy, involving faculty collaborations, undergraduate research, and so many more exciting initiatives to explore. HT appreciated Tesla’s sincerity, interest, and intentionality for forming sustainable partnerships with local institutions of learning to develop talent pipelines. The employment opportunities created by Tesla will provide a direct career path with access to a full array of benefits that align with HT’s Career Pathways Initiative, which is focused on preparing students for mid-to-high-skilled careers in a dynamic and innovative global environment. We anticipate our collaboration with Tesla to lead ultimately to internships, apprenticeships, externships, and fruitful careers for HT students. Tesla is an organization that aligns with and supports Huston-Tillotson University’s core values and mission."
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