WGTC training Powertech employees during retool

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from press release

West Georgia Technical College is working with an automotive parts manufacturer in Troup County to train the manufacturer’s employees while the West Point plant undergoes a 10-week “retool.”

Hyundai Powertech America (PTA), which provides transmissions for KIA Motors Manufacturing Georgia and Hyundai Motor Manufacturing of Alabama in Montgomery, is completing a retooling project in which approximately 80 percent of the equipment in the plant will be replaced, with the remaining 20 percent being rebuilt.

Rather than laying employees off during this period, PTA decided to utilize this opportunity to train its employees in a multitude of business skills.

“Our employees are what make us successful, so instead of choosing the easier or more traditional path of laying employees off, we really wanted to take this opportunity to invest in our employees and in our business,” said Jason Ransbottom, Senior Manager of Human Resources and Administration at PTA.

Ransbottom said PTA has a unique opportunity now to make a “substantial and positive” effect on the lives of its employees.

“This training will, by its very nature, have a strong effect on our business,” Ransbottom said. “I am very excited about how willing and motivated West Georgia Tech is to help us out with this project, and it was a perfect fit for both of us.”

Laura Boalch Gammage, Vice President of Economic Development at West Georgia Tech, said the college was honored to fill PTA’s need.

“We are excited to help Powertech ‘skill up’ their workforce,” Gammage said. “This is an example of what our Economic Development division can do to fill needs that aren’t being met by anyone else. We can design classes based on an individual or company’s needs that can be customized to time or location.”

The company’s 272 employees are being trained from now until mid-June at West Georgia Tech’s Callaway Conference Center in LaGrange for 40 hours each week. Employees are being trained in communication, workplace safety and manufacturing operations.

When the two-month training program ends, employees will return to Hyundai Powertech in West Point, as the manufacturer moves into the future with enhanced production capabilities to meet the needs of an increasingly demanding industry, Ransbottom said.

“We’re proud to be able to offer these types of services to any Georgia company that is in need,” Gammage said. “It’s a great way for a company to give its employees more skills and resources that another company’s employees may not have, which keeps them competitive to meet their own needs as well.”

CUTLINE: Powertech employees apply what they’ve learned in a class taught by West Georgia Tech instructors to construct a vehicle out of cardboard, drinking straws and rubber bands. More than 250 Hyundai Powertech America employees are training with West Georgia Tech this month while the West Point plant undergoes a major retool.

West Georgia Technical College, with campuses in Carroll, Coweta, Douglas, Haralson and Troup counties and class sites in Heard and Meriwether counties, offers more than 120 associate degree, diploma and technical certificate programs of study. A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, West Georgia Tech is the third-largest of the state’s 22 technical colleges. For more information, please visit westgatech.edu.