CHARLESTON — Nucor Steel West Virginia Vice President and General Manager John Farris said he’s heard about the challenges facing the state’s workforce but he has no doubt the large steelmaker will be able to fill the 800 permanent jobs that will be created with the completion of the $3 billion sheet steel plant to be under construction soon in Mason County.
Farris said one of the goals is to target more women for employment.
“We’re currently putting together an RFQ (Request for Qualifications) to have on-site child care,” Farris said this week on MetroNews “Talkline.” “At the premise of that is we want to encourage more women to choose steelmaking as a career and obviously that’s (on-site child care) going to appeal to families at large.”
Farris said Nucor has also been engaged with the state’s Jobs and Hope program that helps those coming out of substance use disorder get jobs along with ongoing talks with Marshall Addictive Medicine for second chance employment.
“While I’m no expert in how to get someone in sustained recovery, I do know the value of having a sense of purpose and a career opportunity and just the benefits that that would bring to that person and generations to come — man, that’s cool,” Farris said.
The goal, according to Farris, is to build 800 of the finest steelmakers the state can offer.
The Apple Grove plant is projected to begin operations in 2026. Farris said about 80 to 100 of the
original 800 workers will come from other Nucor operations.
“About 10 to 15% of the overall plant population will be Nucor folks from other operations and that’s obvious for the culture and the safety,” Farris said.
Steel jobs of today are “thinking jobs,” according to Farris.
“That’s because each person in the stream of the process has to have a kind of a shared consciousness with everyone else at the mill to understand how to truly optimize this thing to be competitive in a global atmosphere,” Farris said.
Those interested in Nucor jobs should keep their eyes on the Nucor West Virginia website, Farris said.
“We will make sure that it gets populated out there to see what jobs are posted and when. We would like to hire as many people from right here as we possibly can,” Farris said.
The jobs will range from administrative to heavy equipment operators, operating arc furnaces, casting hot mills, operating overhead cranes and all of the engineering disciplines will be represented.
Farris said in 2021 the salary, including profit sharing, for an average team member at Nucor, not including upper-level administration jobs, was at $140,000 a year.
The 1,700-acre site in Apple Grove along the Ohio River, approximately 14 miles south of Point Pleasant, has been the location of major site preparation work in recent months. Farris said that will all begin to change next month.
“Some time in November we will start to drive the foundation piling in the ground and then some time around mid-year next year, we’ll be pouring concrete and they’ll be able to see steel come out of the ground,” Farris said. “That’s when they’ll (the community) be able to say, ‘OK, this thing is taking shape now.’”
Work on the large rail and docking facilities will also begin in the coming months.
“The river work will start in the spring, if not sooner. The rail work will start at the end of next year,” Farris said.