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Toyota sets date to start hiring

Toyota took the next big step last week toward the start of production at its Blue Springs facility.

The company, along with Gov. Haley Barbour and the head of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, announced that it will start hiring the 2,000 production and skilled maintenance workers who will produce the compact Corolla sedan starting in fall 2011.

“We have looked forward with great anticipation to the day when Toyota was ready to fully staff its Blue Springs facility, and that day has come,” Barbour said said last Monday during a ceremony at the plant. “I am so pleased that Toyota is moving forward with its hiring process and is creating so many high-quality jobs for the residents of Mississippi.”

Toyota revealed in early 2007 that it had selected Blue Springs as the site for it newest North American manufacturing facility. Two changes in production and one 18-month recession-related delay later, the company said in June that it was resuming construction on the facility, which is nearly complete.

Starting the process of hiring production workers represents a “milestone for Toyota Mississippi as we begin building our team,” said David Copenhaver, vice president of administration at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi.

Potential employees can apply for jobs at Toyota by visiting the Department of Employment Security’s website (www.mdes.ms.gov) or by visiting any of the Workforce Investment Network (WIN) Job Centers in Mississippi.

“Thanks to an investment by Toyota and the Mississippi Development Authority, we have been able to expand our online system to help Toyota take job applications for its Blue Springs facility,” said MDES executive director Les Range.

Once workers are hired, they will undergo workforce training at the Blue Springs facility, other Toyota facilities in the U.S., and will complete some classroom work at Itawamba Community College’s Belden Center, which is a few miles down U.S. 78 from Blue Springs. ICC is one of four members of the Mississippi Corridor Consortium, a group of community colleges that will handle workforce training for Toyota workers.

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