Recently, I visited KIA Motors in West Point, Georgia to tour their facility. The auto manufacturing plant is creating high-tech jobs that have had larger implications for the local economy. It also incorporates sustainable practices that are reducing its impact on the environment.
With a $1 billion investment in the plant in 2006, KIA has created approximately 3,000 direct jobs and approximately 10,000 indirect jobs. Their employees are gaining new skills in advanced manufacturing fields such as robotics. These fields require specialized job training that goes along with operating and maintaining these machines. The jobs at the plant are contributing to a workforce that is ready for an economic future where we can out innovate the rest of the world. Additionally, KIA’s investment has attracted 33 new businesses to West Point. The overall job growth and new businesses are good signs for the economy and for middle class families in the region.
During my visit, I learned about KIA’s commitment to efficiency and sustainability, such as reusing water, recycling scrap metal, and eliminating waste. The company has also recently released its first hybrid vehicle overseas, which it intends to manufacture in the U.S. and, as a result, create more American jobs – green jobs! KIA’s green initiatives are very similar to GSA’s efforts to implement sustainable building technologies and practices to optimize energy performance, conserve water and reduce our environmental footprint.
KIA officials shared their thoughts about what GSA and the Obama Administration can do to help create sustainable markets for further innovation in America and the jobs that go along with them. As the business arm of the federal government with a $60 billion supply chain, GSA is committed to making strategic acquisitions that will in turn create jobs while spurring innovation across the country. We are leveraging our buying power to invest in burgeoning industries that will help federal agencies meet their missions while strengthening the economy.
Through our external outreach meetings, GSA is meeting with companies like KIA that are developing the products, tools, and the workforce for America to remain competitive on the word stage. We are seeing remarkable examples that are creating new opportunities. As more companies, start ups, and entrepreneurs innovate, the more high quality middle class jobs we will see as a result.