The Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce has recently confirmed that Austal topped the list of local manufacturers for having the most employees. Austal’s U.S. facility now has 1,257 full-time employees, up from just under 900 in the beginning of the year. Austal’s recruiting staff was challenged in the beginning of the year with hiring 100 qualified applicants a month and are predicted to continue to do so through May and June. Since January, Austal has added 370 new employees to our staff. The majority of the new-hires are from the Mobile/Baldwin County communities, ranging in age from 18 to 64 years, including 35 veterans. They do this through various venues, including an employee referral program, Alabama Industrial Development and Training (AIDT) welding training classes, online posting, radio, billboard and newspaper ads, career fair participation, and community outreach efforts to technical school sponsorship initiatives, to name a few.
In response to Austal’s good news, Austal USA Vice President of Human Resources, Don Keeler, commented, “Excellent people from all walks of life have joined Austal either as direct hires or through our partnership with AIDT. We believe we are the employer of choice on the Gulf Coast offering excellent pay and benefits, excellent working conditions, a strong commitment to safety and an opportunity for exciting and satisfying work. As we continue to grow we remain convinced that placing the business in Mobile was the right choice.”
Over 150 of Austal’s new employees have recently completed some form of AIDT training. AIDT has worked in conjunction with Austal for several years now to provide quality training to many of Austal’s future welding and fitting employees. Austal works with AIDT to pre-screen the training program applicants as a part of the prequalification process. Austal also provides AIDT with many of their own top welders and fitters to train the potential employees. AIDT is currently building the Maritime Science Center on ADDSCO Road adjacent to Austal’s Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF).
Austal’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard opened officially at its current location in February 2001 with less than 100 employees. Since then, it has built and delivered eleven aluminium vessels, including two history-making, commercial high-speed passenger/vehicle ferries, and the most recently delivered Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), USS Independence (LCS 2), for the U.S. Navy. Austal is currently building the Coronado (LCS 4) and the first vessel of the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) class, Spearhead (JHSV 1), which will be used by the US Army.
Austal is competing to build an additional ten LCS worth about $5b which would increase employment to over 3,000. Facility improvements as a result of the contract would include construction of an additional 350,000 sf to the MMF, a 90,000 sf office complex, and a 58,000 sf Assembly Bay.