Cummins Hiring 31 Right Away
North Charleston company could expand further into 2013.
Cummins Operation Manager David Michi has his work cut out for him: he has to hire 31 engineers, mechanical technicians and electrical technicians immediately.
"We're just getting into the sprint of it," Michi said. "And that's going to be a start."
Company officials said growth is expected to continue into 2013.
The North Charleston company announced Wednesday a $24 million investment in its existing plant. The investment will focus on research and development on fuels and engines.
Cummins is a global corporation that designs, manufactures, distributes and services engines and related technologies.
Other worldwide sites were considered for the expansion. However, Charleston County sealed the deal on a number of "variables," including the existing plant, infrastructure, previous growth and public partnerships, Cummins Turbo Technologies Vice President Jim Trueblood said.
Michi said the Lowcountry's technical-savvy workforce was also a draw for the company.
"There's always been a technical base here," Michi said.
He added that while the tri-county has become famous for tourism, its military presence and education efforts has helped it retain its footprint in research and development.
"To many people, it has been a well-kept secret about things we design here," Charleston County Council Chair Teddie Pryor said, citing the research and development industry in the Lowcountry.
Trueblood said salaries offered for the 31 jobs would be "competitive." Of the 31 jobs at Cummins, 10-12 will be open to engineers.
The announcement comes after Gov. Nikki Haley said many companies are looking to expand their footprint in the state after its public sector stood behind Boeing in its fight with the National Labor Relations Board.
And for Cummins, that played a role in their decision, Michi said.
"Anywhere where you can have a free and open employment base, it certainly is a positive," Michi said.
The public sector also provided a "broad-range" incentive package, which includes fee-in-lieu of taxes, partnership with ReadySC workforce training and more to help the company "move forward quickly," Michi said.
While unemployment has continued to rise in the state, Michi said hiring the 31 employees may not be so easy with the competitive market in the Lowcountry.
To help expand the trained workforce in the region, Michi said the company is partnering with school districts to help ready students for a technical or engineering career.