GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Toyota’s first North American battery plant is coming to North Carolina.
The announcement was made two months ago and no time is being wasted. A contractor that's doing the grading of the site has already been mobilized.
Kevin Franklin, President of the Randolph County Economic Development Corporation said with anticipation of the announcement of Toyota coming to the megasite, NCDOT was already talking with potential grading contractors.
“Ready to go and sign on the dotted line as soon as the announcement took place,” Franklin explained.
Franklin said it will be between late May-early June before construction of the facility, but Ames construction is grading 1,000 acres of the property.
“There are going to be local and regional companies that are going to benefit from that," he said.
Toyota is also coordinating training programs with local community colleges.
The battery plant is expected to bring over 1,700 jobs and money to the Triad. Toyota had the first of many meetings last week with Randolph Community College to discuss training programs.
Vice President of Work Force Development at RCC, Elbert Lassiter, said the school met with the site director and talked about what type of skill set employees will need to have a job at the plant.
Lassiter said a lot of colleges in the area will play a role in the pre-employment screening for potential employees then the employees will move into a customized training program with the college.
“We’ve already started fortunately a lot of our programs a line up with the skill sets that they will need we had an opportunity to show them our facility and we showed them the automation engineering technology program which houses our PLCs and electronics and robotic arms etc. and some of those skill sets are exactly what they are going to need inside their facility,” Lassiter said.
Lassiter said RCC is optimistic they can provide the training needed.
“This is big for RCC and it’s big for the state. It’s the biggest economic development project in the history of the state in terms of one company employing that many people initially. So, we have a great opportunity to show our community college system what we do, how we do it. At Randolph Community College we are excited about being able to provide that training along with other community colleges in the area, GTCC will be a part of the training as well,” he continued.
The training will include OSHA safety and being able to operate different types of machines. This is going to be an ongoing training process and Lassiter said even high schools will benefit from this. RCC is planning on partnering with high schools and training them while they're still in high school so when they graduate they can hopefully go straight to Toyota.
The plant will make lithium-ion batteries for 200,000 cars with plans to eventually make more than 1.2 million battery packs per year. Toyota will invest $1.29 billion at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite - a 1,800-acre piece of land that sits on the county border. Officials said the jobs are expected to have an average yearly salary of a little more than $62,000. Randolph County's overall average annual wage is currently just under $38,000.
It's not the first time the automaker has eyed the Megasite. Back in 2018, Randolph County lost a bid for a car manufacturing plant to Alabama but state and local officials did not give up.