Automotive parts manufacturer Seung Chang Airtek has completed an expansion of its facilities that will result in the creation of approximately 200 local jobs.
SCA, located in Auburn Technology Park North, has added about 95,000 square feet to its manufacturing center. The expansion comes as a result of increased demand for their products by primary customers Kia and Hyundai, for whom SCA supplies injection-molded plastic parts.
"Because the demand at Hyundai and Kia goes up--as in general car sales, or they have more parts per car, or, in this case, Kia started in September the production of the Optima at Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia at West Point--because they started this new car, they need more parts, and SCA is one of the beneficiaries of that expansion," said Arndt Siepmann, director of industrial development.
The addition of these jobs provides a welcome boost to the local economy.
"Jobs, as far as growing our economy, are probably the most important thing that's out there," said Auburn Mayor Bill Ham.
"In these economic times, any jobs are good announcements, but these are good jobs that are high-paying jobs that will provide benefits for individuals and benefits for families."
When SCA first arrived in Auburn in 2004, it employed a staff of 40 people. With this expansion, that number will grow to approximately 400.
"Two hundred out of the 400 total will come through this expansion, so ... it's very significant," Siepmann said.
The impact of this sudden influx of work opportunity is not limited to Auburn.
"We actually recruit jobs from a 50-plus mile radius," Ham said, "so we'll be able to supply jobs to a lot of people in Lee County, as well as surrounding counties."
The company is also offering internships to local students.
"We are looking for many intern students, good students who want to build a career in the auto industry," said Daniel Yu, SCA president.
SCA is not the only company to add to the growing Auburn workforce. In the past year, expansions by Pyongsan America Inc. and CNJ Tech Inc. have added approximately 375 jobs. In addition, construction for the new GE Aviation plant in Auburn has been scheduled for later this year.
"We've had a number of expansions already this year," Ham said. "We're fixing to have the groundbreaking for GE Aviation, and that's going to be 300-400 jobs with a really high capital investment from GE."
According to the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations, Lee County's unemployment rate is 8.4 percent. As more companies join the Auburn family, that number should remain well below the national average.
As for Auburn and SCA, it seems to be an ideal match.
"Auburn is a very unique city because Auburn has a lot of big resources with Auburn University, and also it's located ... between Hyundai and Kia," Yu said. "It's the ideal position, and, with good technical resources and investment infrastructure, it's the perfect city that (helps us) continue to grow and expand our business."