For decades, we have been very lucky to have the General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant.

Not only is it the only place that produces the Corvette, it provides jobs for many people, most of whom raise their families and educate their children here. The plant has also helped our local economy grow tremendously since coming here in the early 1980s.

The Corvette plant currently employs 900 people who put their blood, sweat and tears into making a quality product in the Corvette. We are very proud of the hard work they put into building these cars, and many of us are proud to call the workers there our neighbors and our friends.

GM is a booming company – so booming, in fact, that it was announced Thursday that 400 full-time jobs will be added to the second shift at the plant to help build the new mid-engine Corvette, which will officially be revealed July 18.

The new jobs will push the plant’s total employment beyond 1,300, which Plant Manager Kai Spande said would be the highest employment level ever for the facility that opened in 1981. GM CEO Mary Barra, who was present for the announcement, indicated a number of the new employees will be transferred from GM plants that have experienced layoffs or shutdowns. The new jobs are expected to be high-paying, which is great news for the new employees based on the current UAW contract that expires in September.

The 2015 contract included bonuses and other perks for veteran auto workers, who make $28 to $38 per hour, and took steps to end GM’s two-tier system that pays new workers at a much lower rate. New workers can make up to $29 an hour in eight years or less.

This is very good pay for those who are and will be working at the assembly plant and it’s really exciting news not only for the Corvette plant, but for our town. Four hundred new jobs mean more people will come to Bowling Green to set up roots, rent or buy houses, put their kids in our school systems, bring money into our local economy and be a part of all of the exciting things happening in our city.

We should all be happy about this big news. This is a really big deal for the plant and our city and is an indication of GM’s long-term commitment to building vehicles in Bowling Green.

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