Production has begun at Nordex's newly built wind turbine manufacturing plant in Jonesboro, Ark. The plant's first production crew will assemble a wind turbine nacelle.
The crew, hired earlier this year, just completed a 10-week intensive training program at Nordex's flagship plant in Rostock, Germany. Training will continue during the early phase of production, with the team's German counterparts now taking up residence in Jonesboro for several months to work alongside their new colleagues.
‘There's no way to do this without international exchange,’ says Joe Brenner, vice president of production for Nordex. ‘Wind energy has tremendous potential in the U.S., but it's about more than just creating green jobs. We have to transfer expertise in order to build a wind industry workforce. Nordex is investing in such a workforce and bringing the needed skills to America.’
Nordex broke ground on its manufacturing plant last September, completing construction in July of this year. The company has hired 150 employees in the U.S. to date, including 42 in Jonesboro, and has plans to employ up to 1,000 nationally over four to five years. About 80% of the workforce in Jonesboro is local. Construction on a second facility for assembling rotor blades is also planned for the future.
Nordex will hold a grand-opening ceremony celebrating the completion of the plant and the start of production on Oct. 29.