Dorsey Hager, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, made his monthly appearance on America’s Work Force Union Podcast and spoke with AWF host Ed “Flash” Ferenc about the Honda/LG electric vehicle (EV) battery plant that will be built in Fayette County.
Hager said the $3.5 billion plant is expected to be completed in 26 months in the village of Jeffersonville. The project will be covered by a Project Labor Agreement, which is nearly finalized, and will require about 5,000 building trades members to complete on such a tight timetable. He called the project an incredible opportunity for Ohio, the members of the state’s building trades and numerous apprenticeship programs throughout Ohio.
Work will begin on Nov. 15, with plans to mass-produce EV batteries by the summer of 2024. In addition to the construction jobs, the plant will create 5,000 full-time jobs to manufacture the batteries.
Sitework underway at Intel
Hager also provided an update on the Intel semi-conductor plant being built in New Albany. Sitework is ongoing, and he expects steel to be put into the ground in early 2023. Bechtel was named the project’s general contractor.
In the coming weeks, Hager and members of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers will tour the Intel plant in Portland, Ore. to better understand some of the future work.
As a result of the Intel project, Hager is now hearing from developers across the state as businesses prepare to expand in Central Ohio in anticipation of the influx of workers and jobs the plant will bring. He recently talked to a bank that was looking to finance the construction of 30 hotels in the area.
Hager: Apprenticeship programs must expand to meet worker demand
Hager then discussed the need to expand the Building Futures and Driving Futures Apprenticeship Readiness Programs to keep up with Central Ohio’s construction boom. He believes Apprenticeship Readiness Programs and registered apprenticeship programs around the region should expand to accommodate the demand for more union construction workers.
Hager expects the Building Futures program to enroll 200 students next year, up from 70 this year. Driving Futures trained 200 students this year, and he anticipates 500 students will enter the program next year.
He expects several apprenticeship programs in the area to double next year to meet the demand for workers.