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Fast pass to a Ford interview, it's who you know

by Joe Arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on July 7, 2011 at 11:05 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 7 at 11:22 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Thousands of people are expected to apply for 1,800 new Ford jobs by the July 14 deadline, economic officials said on Thursday.

The Kentucky Office of Employment & Training is bracing for long lines and hundreds - if not thousands - of applicants starting at 8 a.m., Friday.  The 6th and Cedar office is hosting a lottery which will decide which applicants get invited to pre-employment testing.

Yet, there is another way to get into the hiring process, a referral from an active employee at the Louisville Assembly Plant. Each of the 1,100 active employees get one referral slip to give to a friend or a family member.

"Probably have a good chance of getting into the facility," said UAW Building Chairman Steve Stone.

"I've always felt we've had good success hiring our sons and neighbors," Stone said, "People you know.  It's always a leg up."

Stone said he does not know how many positions will be left over for the general public.

"I just feel like I need something better," said Mark Taylor, "a lot better, and Ford's a lot better."

The new hires are set to begin work by November to build the next generation Ford Escape SUV.  The Fern Valley Road facility is undergoing a $600 million rebuild.

"It's a major boost to the tens of thousands of citizens who are unemployed and looking for work," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (D).

As word of the job lottery spread on Thursday, the first of thousands of expected job applicants descended upon the downtown unemployment office, unaware that the first day of applications was set aside for military veterans only.  All said they planned to return on Friday.

"I'm a working man, and I am ready to go back to work," said Alvin Scott, who lost his job three weeks ago.

Gary Emery lost his job two years ago -- after 20 years at Jeffboat.

"I just need a job," Emery said, "That's my main thing. Two years is too long."

By the end of this year, the workforce at Louisville Assembly Plant is projected to have 2,900 workers.
 
The 1,800 new positions are in addition to 1,100 workers who are returning after a December layoff.

Of the 1,800 new positions, current Ford workers are expected to claim about 800 of them, leaving approximately 1,000 new jobs, Stone said.

Four hundred and fifty-six workers who list LAP as their home plant have filed paperwork to return. In addition, Stone expects about 400 other Ford workers to transfer to LAP from plants in Indianapolis, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Kansas City, among others.

"This is a great thing okay?" Fischer said, "Let's say 1,000 new net jobs at $15 an hour, which is, there's an awful lot of people who would line up behind that."

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