It's a good-news, bad-news situation for the automotive job market in east Alabama. Automotive engineering firm APR is expanding their existing facility in Opelika. The 42,000 square foot addition is projected to bring in 50 new jobs in the next three years, with 25 being added within the first year.
The company currently employs 74 full-time employees at its Opelika facility on U.S. Highway 280 West. The firm was founded in 1997 and began its operations in a small building along Opelika Road. Ten years later, it moved to its current location along Highway 280, where construction is expected to be complete in August 2014.
APR President Stephen Hooks says, "We're looking for a good group of people with a passion for what they do and a good skill set."
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, automotive plant Benteler is closing down. With about 120 employees, those employees will be out of work.
Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller hates to see a company like Benteler close and is concerned with those losing their jobs.
"Naturally we're disappointed; we don't want to lose any companies or any jobs," said Fuller.
The facility will stay open for another 5-6 months as manufacturing operations are transferred to other operations in South Carolina and Mexico. The decision to close the plant stems from a corporate decision to reposition their global manufacturing operation. Benteler also announced plans to close another one its operations in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
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