Hundreds turn out to hear SolarCity explain open positions

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – SolarCity is expected to create thousands of jobs and put Western New York on the map for solar panel production. Its new $900 million complex on the RiverBend in south Buffalo will be the second largest solar panel production site in the world, according to Mayor Byron Brown.

Hundreds of people turned out for an informational session on Wednesday. It’s the first of many meetings this year intended to tell people how the company plans to fill 1,500 positions.

“Based on the turnout here, it looks like there’s going to be a lot more applicants than positions available so it looks like they’re going to take the crème of the crop,” said Christopher Fortin, a job seeker.

The screening process has just started. The company plans to hire 100 to 200 higher level engineering and management positions this fall and then it will focus on about 1,000 manufacturing jobs.

“There are a lot of people in this community that want to work, that are looking for work, and those of us in a position to assist need to do everything we can to get the many job seekers in this community into gainful employment,” said Mayor Byron Brown.

SolarCity said people applying for jobs need to have a high school diploma or GED and manufacturing experience, or an associate’s degree and experience in engineering or applied sciences.

The company is looking to fill positions in engineering, operations management, quality & safety management, process operations, supply chain, logistics and human relations.

The company said there will be room for growth.

“It was kind of encouraging, knowing you could start off as a janitor and then be a part of the actual organization later on,” said Juanita Jordan, who is interested in a job with SolarCity. “It was good that you can move up.”

The company said manufacturing jobs will be 12 hour shifts. Salaries start at $30,000 per year.

Solar city says the jobs will be 12 hour shifts on a non-smoking campus.

“Especially for a lot of the younger people, that’s maybe their first job, $30,000 a year without a serious college education is phenomenal for this area,” said Edward Jordan, who is  interested in a SolarCity job.

Other job seekers disagree.

“I mean people will be happy to have a job but working in those conditions in a factory setting, I would definitely like to see an increase in wages,” said Christopher Fortin. “We are hard workers, we are dedicated workers but we need to be treated fairly.”

SolarCity will spend the fall screening applicants and it plans to start hiring before the New Year.

To apply for a job, click here.

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