Rivian continues to ramp up hiring as the start of production approaches in June. The electric vehicle maker will begin manufacturing vans, trucks, and SUVs over the summer and early autumn.
Current employment at the facility in Normal is about 890, according to plant Communications Director Zach Dietmeier. Dietmeier said another 200 will come on board in the next few weeks.
“So heavy onboarding and training going on at this time for team members at the facility: technicians, line workers, you name it, we’re covering it. And as that continues toward June, we’re looking at probably 1,100 to 1,200 in the next month or so. And by the end of this ramp up into early next year the final numbers are probably somewhere in the nature of 2,700 manufacturing employees on site,” said Dietmeier.
Not all those hires are trained for the automotive or manufacturing industry, said Dietmeier, adding, "The workforce elements are broadening.”
He said the company is seeking "collaborative people who are interested in learning new skills and have the energy levels to buy into a team concept."
“It is certainly a test to be able to bring in that many bodies in that short of a time frame. As we seek out those groups, it really does change what you are seeking at a base level, too, as a company.”
He said one of the best groups they have seen is restaurant workers and those who have worked in the hospitality industry.
“Especially servers with those energy levels. They fit very well as team members at Rivian,” said Dietmeier.
WGLT has previously reported on a shortage of restaurant workers who have found other employment locally, or left the community during the pandemic.
Dietmeier said he did not have total payroll figures for the plant, but said the Economic Develoment Council is working on an economic impact study. He said with hiring not yet capped, it is too early to gauge the community-wide benefit.
“I think the other big takeaway from this and we certainly want to reiterate, we are extremely grateful for the leadership at the town, Mayor (Chris) Koos and the (town) council, the support for Rivian from the beginning. Our growth would definitely not be possible without the local community’s belief in and really contribution to our vision as that has grown.
"I think we’re all really excited on our side of the discussion to start to see how this truly does impact the community for what we see as decades to come,” volunteered Dietmeier without a question on the topic.
In the April 6 election, Koos faces opposition from Marc Tiritilli, who opposed part of the Rivian incentive package that helped bring the company to Normal.
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