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Rivian shows its appreciation while recruiting for more workers at Uptown event

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Chris Francis
/
WGLT
Visitors look over the Rivian R1S at the company's Community Appreciation Event on Saturday in Uptown Normal.

Rivian hosted its second Community Appreciation Event on Saturday in Uptown Normal, allowing the electric automaker not only to showcase its vehicle models, but also employment opportunities available at the Normal plant.

Most of the people attending the event wanted to see Rivian’s signature vehicles: the R1S pickup truck and the R1S model SUV. Visitors were able to explore inside and out the vehicles while a local musician played guitar and sang popular tunes in the background.

Also featured was Amazon’s electric delivery van produced by Rivian, demonstrating Rivian’s interest in catering to fleet customers as well as consumers.

On the jobs front, the plant is working to fill new positions for a second shift to make more of all those vehicles.

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Chris Francis
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WGLT
The Rivian-made Amazon electric delivery van on display in Uptown Normal on Saturday.

Vice President of Manufacturing Operations Tim Fallon said one of the biggest challenges is “a matter of getting the right people, and getting the right people through the process quickly as we’re trying to ramp up to meet our customer demands.”

A tent sheltering a team of Rivian recruiters from the sun saw a steady trickle of people inquiring about job opportunities, and poster board signs touted Rivian as a growing employer. Rarely did the number of interested visitors at the tent exceed the number of recruiters waiting for them.

“When it comes to skilled trades, I think we’re dealing with the same shortages that other people in a similar industry, throughout all of manufacturing and all of technology, are dealing with,” said Fallon.

He said most employees on the factory floor are recruited locally, but recent plant expansions are increasing the number of workers brought in from beyond the Bloomington-Normal area. He acknowledged a possible hurdle for relocating talent was increasing housing costs in the area.

“It definitely is a topic that comes up,” Fallon said. “We continue to have those discussions with local leaders.”

The company held its first appreciation event in October 2019.

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Chris Francis is a WGLT correspondent. He joined the station in 2022.
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