Subaru brings jobs, training to Camden

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Car maker Subaru isn't just bringing new, good-paying jobs to Camden, it's also ready to give local students a future with the company. (WPVI)

Car maker Subaru isn't just bringing new, good-paying jobs to Camden, it's also ready to give local students a future with the company.

Back in December Subaru of America broke ground on a new US headquarters in Camden, promising it would bring roughly 700 jobs to this impoverished city.

Now the carmaker is joining forces with Respond, a local organization that promotes economic independence for city residents.

In a new garage with equipment donated by Subaru, students in Respond's automotive training classes will become a part of Subaru University.

There, they'll get the latest hands-on and computer training needed to qualify them for technician jobs with Subaru.

"These are good, high-paying jobs too," said Subaru of America CEO Tom Doll. "An average technician can make anywhere from $80,000 to well over $100,000."

"If they are able to get into the field of auto mechanics, they'll have a livable wage, they'll be able to take care of their families, they'll be able to become more productive in society," said the executive director of Respond, Dr. Wilbert Mitchell.

At a graduation for Respond's most recent class of mechanics, students say the Subaru partnership will offer more opportunity.

"It's a career path. They have placements, he has connections in different companies such as Subaru, such as different tire companies," said Steven Singleton.

"It means a better future. I already was in school for other stuff but I always wanted to do auto mechanics," said Antony Hairston.

"Their training is more extensive, more in detail, so now the students now have a broader horizon in their education," said instructor Patrick Moore.

Camden has an unemployment rate of about 12.3%, which is almost three times the state average, so creating new jobs here is critical for the city.

"This type of program allows the semi-skilled or the unskilled worker to be trained in a specific trade and they can get a job and these are great paying jobs," said Camden County Freeholder Jeff Nash.

Subaru executives say there's a shortage of technicians but partnerships like this will help produce more, and provide local residents with jobs that pay well over the minimum wage.


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