Mt. Vernon Adds Jobs

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By Fanna Haile-Selassie
By Ben Jeffords

MT. VERNON - Jefferson County is not waiting for the Obama plan to add jobs. Thanks to some large expansions, hundreds of jobs are opening throughout Mt. Vernon.

Senator John. O. Jones says Mt. Vernon is open for business. That's definitely good news for anyone unemployed in the area. According to Jones, here's the breakdown of what's available:
Roughly 400 positions at Jefferson County's largest employer, Continental Tire,
70 Warehousing positions
20 Medical positions
20 electrical or welding professional positions
11 governmental positions.

There's a lot of construction going on in Mt. Vernon. But you won't find too many commuters complaining about it, because all this dust and gravel means one thing, jobs.

"We want to separate the trucking traffic from the passenger cars," says Continental Tire's Vice President Benny Harmse.

"Continental is expanding by 400 jobs, and then there are those ancillary jobs that happen because of that expansion in other businesses around Jefferson County, too. All told, there are probably 500 or 600 jobs associated with that expansion at Continental Tire," explains Kathy Lively with Man-Tra-Con.

"The expansion is approximately 30% additional production," Harmse says.

In the past two years, Continental Tire has hired roughly 350 people. By the end of next year, the company plans to hire another 400 more as part of a major expansion operation.

"We'll start the first production on the 15th of October," explains Harmse. "So, we've already hired approximately 50 people which we are training already. And we still need to hire about another 40 this year for the remainder of the year. And obviously the ramp up will continue through 2012 into 2013."

Continental Tire isn't the only one hiring. Local construction crews are also working on the new St. Mary's Good Samaritan Hospital, as well as the Crossroads Hospital expansion, creating the potential for another couple hundred jobs, and creating employment hope for those looking for work.

"Jefferson County has the largest number of jobs right this minute. But there are jobs, and they are good paying jobs with health care benefits, vacation, sick leave. So there are jobs, people just need to come in, They need the courage to kind of go back at it," says Lively.

The available jobs run across the board, from hourly factory operators to salaried technicians, supervisors, and IT professionals. Continental Tire has even set up a shuttle service to West Frankfort and Benton to attract employees there.

Good Samaritan Hospital is about 45% complete now, and officials plan to finish by late 2012. Continental Tire's expansion should be done by the beginning of 2013, and the tire company has already begun its hiring process.

Jefferson County Job Listing
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