The US State of Georgia said Tuesday SK Battery America, a production subsidiary of South Korean battery giant SK On, has exceeded its hiring goal two years earlier than the initial schedule to fill jobs at its manufacturing facilities for electric vehicle batteries in the city of Commerce, Jackson County.
The state government said the company had achieved its goal of 2,600 employees as of the end of 2022, with plans to expand the workforce to some 3,000 this year.
Since launching its EV battery project in Georgia in 2018, SK On has invested $2.6 billion to build two battery manufacturing facilities whose batteries are supplied for several EVs, including the Ford F-150 Lightning truck and the Volkswagen ID.4 compact.
The first plant with an annual capacity of 9.8 gigawatt-hours started mass production in early 2022, while the second plant is set to become operational this year, more than doubling their combined capacity to some 21.5 gigawatt-hours.
SK Battery America has carried out diverse activities to attract local talent. The company has worked with Georgia Quick Start, the state’s top-ranked job training program through the Technical College System of Georgia. During the pandemic years, it hosted drive-thru job fairs to help job-seekers apply for jobs in a safer manner. The company has also partnered with the Guard’s Work for Warriors Georgia program, an employment initiative created by the Georgia National Guard dedicated to helping service members, veterans, retirees, reservists and families.
Adding to that, the company has also offered competitive welfare benefits, including the 401K pension plan, life insurance and free meals.
“This latest hiring news and job expansion by SKBA is another sign that Georgia is the top state for business to thrive, and it’s Georgians who are seeing the benefits,” Kemp said in a statement. “I want to thank SKBA in going above and beyond in delivering on their commitments. They helped put Georgia on the electric vehicle map, and with each day they become a more essential part of our northeast Georgia community.”
“We have met our employment goal ahead of schedule thanks in large part to our partnership with the State of Georgia,” said SKBA CEO Timothy Jeong. “More than 300,000 new electric vehicles a year will be on American roads because of the work we’re doing here, and SKBA team members take great pride in the role we have in building a new chapter in automotive history.”
SK On also operates a joint venture named BlueOval SK with Ford Motor Company in the US. The JV plans to build three plants for a total production capacity of 129 gigawatt-hours of batteries -- with one plant in Tennessee and two in Kentucky. With the SKBA and BOSK plants, SK On's total production capacity is expected to reach about 150 gigawatt-hours in the US per year, with plans to further expand capacity in the future.