Georgia bus company bulking up with 200 new jobs

Blue Bird Corp. said it is adding a second shift for the spring and summer at its Fort Valley school bus assembly plant, generating 200 new jobs in the Middle Georgia area.

The company said the seasonal jobs will allow the company to boost production of buses during the spring and summer to make deliveries before the school year begins in the fall.

“Bus delivery for school start is a priority for our customers,” Blue Bird CEO Phil Horlock said. The move will help “us continue to grow our market share,” he said.

He said production has increased more than 50 percent at the Fort Valley plant in recent years. The assembly plant produced almost 10,400 buses last year and expects to assemble up to 11,000 this year, the company said.

Blue Bird, founded in Fort Valley by A.L. Luce, was acquired in 2014 by a Houston investment firm, Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp. It became a publicly-traded company last year through a stock offering.

The planned hiring will be subsidized by Georgia’s Quick Start job training program.

The company said each new employee will receive 80 hours of training through the state’s technical college system, covering manufacturing skills, welding, fabrication, process software, safety and other topics.

“For more than 15 years, Quick Start has been a proud partner with Blue Bird providing customized training wherever and whenever it was needed,” said Jackie Rohosky, head of the program and assistant commissioner with the Technical College System of Georgia.

“The company’s success is Georgia’s success, and that will always remain our focus,” said Rohosky.

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