LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In and around Louisville, Kentucky it is a nervous night for thousands of people who’ve filled out an application for a job. Ford is re-tooling and re-opening a plant, and that means 1,800 new jobs and demand for those jobs is so great they’re holding a lottery on Friday to decide who to talk to about filling them.
In the early morning heat, the line is already long at the state employment office in Louisville.
Ron Heinzman drove an hour-and-a-half from Cincinnati to fill out an application. He is afraid if he doesn’t find work now, he’ll be foreclosed.
“I’m currently losing my house. My wife’s working, and I got a 2-year-old and a 8-year-old,” Heinzman said.
Drawing most of the job seekers is an announcement by the Ford Motor Company that it’s re-opening it’s Louisville Assembly Plant and is hiring 1,800 workers.
The plant, which began production in 1955, building Edsels is being re-tooled now to make the new Ford Escape.
“It’s great to be growing again, and we’re excited about that, and in particular in this community,” Ford plant manager John Savona said.
At the employment office, nearly 17,000 people have applied for the 1,800 jobs. A lottery will determine who can be interviewed.
Vickie London applied, but especially hopes Ford hires her nephews, Michael and Ryan, who can’t find work anywhere.
“It’s terrible, it’s terrible,” Vickie London said. “They’ve applied in a lot of different places and they’re just not getting callbacks.”
In Louisville, the nearly 10 percent unemployment rate is slightly above the national average.
For Mayor Greg Fisher, the new jobs are welcome news.
“It’s a long time coming, but what it represents to the individual is some hope that there is a path forward,” Fisher said. “People need hope right now unemployment’s been too high for too long.”
Community leaders say for every new job at the plant, at least eight more are created on the outside to supply and support the operation.