Local Company Adding New Jobs

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Maryville, Blount County (WVLT) - One East Tennessee manufacturer is bucking the trends of cutting jobs.

In fact, company officials broke ground there today for a new expansion which could bring 500 new jobs to the area.

WVLT Volunteer TV's Blount County Bureau Chief, Stephen McLamb explains what Denso's plans mean for Blount County and the rest of East Tennessee.

For the last decade you've been hearing a lot about manufacturing jobs leaving for other countries.

But new high-tech companies are working to reverse the flow.

Local officials say with a new research and development park in the works, more high tech jobs should be heading here to East Tennessee.

Denso will soon be adding five hundred new jobs to their workforce. Despite competition from other places, the manufacturing company chose Blount County.

"We've got the right workforce. We've got the right quality of life. We've got the right ingredients to make their business successful," says Fred Forster, from the Blount County Chamber Partnership.

Because of increasing demands for more bells and whistles in automobiles, the new facility will manufacture body electronics.

"That's the core of the vehicle that controls all the lighting, air conditioning, everything that's inside the vehicle door locks, all those type things," says Jack Helmboldt from Denso.

While cut and sew type manufacturing jobs are leaving the U.S., officials say they're hoping to tap into higher skilled manufacturing sector jobs like Denso.

"We welcome the kind of jobs that they are bringing and the kind of investment we see as long term high value manufacturing," says Matt Kisber from the Department of Economic Development.

Blount and Knox County have partnered into a new research and development park which officials hope will help spur more manufacturing jobs.

"We've got the research going on in the research park, new ideas turn into new products which then turn into opportunities to manufacture them and we can do that right here," says Forster.

Officials say they hope they're ahead of the game in bringing high tech manufacturing to the area.

"We have a very strong viable workforce with good skilled granting institutions that make Tennessee an attractive place to do business," says Kisber.

The Denso expansion is expected to cover a whopping 210,000 square feet.

Officials say they hope to begin production in early 2008.