SK Battery America went through a long struggle to get its battery factory in the state of Georgia approved and under construction. That must have made more than a few people nervous, including automakers that were going to rely on those batteries to produce their electric vehicles.
With work now well underway at the site in Commerce, Georgia, the news is much better. The news is that, instead of reaching its employment goal of 2,600 people the end of 2024, SK Battery America reached that target by the end of 2022 and is expecting to employ around 3,000 people in the coming year. This is all thanks to “the growing demand for electric vehicles.”
SK Battery America produces batteries for the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Volkswagen ID.4, both of which have far more consumer demand than their producers had initially anticipated or planned for.
“SK Battery America has relentlessly pursued their goals of hiring Georgians for their high-skilled, high-paying jobs and has become an incredible partner to the state as they meet their standing commitments and aggressive hiring needs,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “I applaud SKBA for their commitment to our state, their adopted community, and to the people of Georgia. I am consistently impressed with their dedication, out-front role in the development of the electric mobility ecosystem in our state, and participation in every opportunity presented to them. Thank you, SKBA!”
Initially, as announced in 2018, SK Battery America (aka SK Innovation) planned to invest $1.6 billion in the state to build EV battery manufacturing facilities. However, since 2019, SK Battery America has invested $2.6 billion into the two manufacturing plants it has in Jackson County, Georgia. It reached battery mass production in early 2022.
“We have met our employment goal ahead of schedule thanks in large part to our partnership with the State of Georgia. The state’s Quick Start program has helped us attract and train workers with a speed and scale that would be difficult for any company to do on its own,” said SK Battery America 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 of the role we have in building a new chapter in automotive history.”
SK Battery America and the State of Georgia note that in order to attract all of the employees the manufacturer needs, it has raised wages, offered more benefits, and improved its work environment in other ways. “The company is still hiring for jobs in production, quality, utility, logistics, ERT, maintenance, and other areas. Career information can be found at www.skbatteryamerica.com,” they add.
“We very much appreciate SKBA’s commitment to provide high quality jobs within our county. We are also grateful for their substantial financial investment,” said Tom Crow, Chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. “Jackson County looks forward to seeing the benefits that SKBA’s operation will continue to bring to our community as we build a long-term relationship with them.”
Indeed. On a broader scale, but also on a site level like this, many cleantech enthusiasts and climate-concerned citizens gain a big boost of inspirational juice from news like this.