COVINGTON, Ga. — Rivian’s electric vehicle manufacturing facility planned for Stanton Springs North could eventually make a nearly $6 billion annual economic impact on its surrounding communities.
Newton IDA Executive Director Serra Hall, who serves as co-lead recruiter along with Shane Short for the Joint Development Authority (JDA) of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton Counties that landed the automotive company, recently shared potential financial projections for how the area could financially benefit from an automotive facility like Rivian.
At full build-out, Hall shared with members of the Newton County Chamber of Commerce that the latest projections showed that an automotive facility of Rivian’s caliber has a potential total economic impact that could reach nearly $6 billion annually — dollars that would stream directly into the surrounding communities.
As the facility anticipates employing 7,500 workers, Hall estimated counties would see more than $700 million in payroll taxes alone.
Value added, including things like paying taxes and covering utility costs, would amount to more than $1 billion each year.
To build an original equipment manufacturer, Rivian facility, Hall said it would take thousands of construction workers and contractors and other contractors to complete the project on time.
With a now record-low unemployment rate, how will these jobs be filled? Hall said existing businesses and organizations will play a major role — just as they unknowingly did to get the company to commit to Stanton Springs.
“One of the things [Rivian] loved about our local communities is exactly what’s sitting in this room today,” she said. “Small businesses to nonprofits, to large businesses, to utility providers, to education, to everyone in between. And [Rivian’s] efforts and everything that they did to research our community came back to your websites, your social media, our news outlets, other places to say, ‘This is where we want to grow collectively, together.’”
Hall said she and others involved understand that the thousands of jobs that will soon be available won’t be taken by everyone living in the four-county area already. She said several could come from outside the area. Hall said workers tend to drive up to nearly two hours for an automotive industry position.
Projections estimated the creation of another 5,400 jobs outside of an automotive style facility like Rivian, Hall said. These jobs, at existing businesses or incoming ancillary businesses, would be filled by the spouses and or children of potential employees moving to the area for Rivian positions.
Hall affirmed Rivian’s impact was a tremendous opportunity that existing businesses needed to take advantage of.
“If I could urge you anything today about how to get ready for a Rivian plant coming here today — it is how to be prepared for it. I beg you to update your Facebook pages, update your social media, update your websites, update your profiles, update your stories that and your testimonials,” Hall said. “Being a driver of where we want people to come and grow and be in our community because it’s here; it’s coming. This is the opportunity to grow your business … if you’re looking to hire one person, well that one person be connected to someone else who might want that potential job at Rivian, or will be contractor, or something else.
“Put stuff out there, because every single eyeball — I can promise you — in the country is on us right now,” she added. “[Eyes are] on you and your businesses right now. Because [people] want to know, how do you get this done? Well, again, it’s not just done by Serra Hall, it’s done by the messaging of what you have. It’s done by amazing businesses that are strong and able to offer viable opportunities to be able grow this community. That’s how you land the big fish.”
Hall said she and others were also working diligently with the school system to better prepare the future workforce and find “alternative ways” to get employees into businesses.
Rivian intends to start construction in the spring, Hall said, with the first vehicle anticipated to roll out of the facility in 2024. Full build-out of the facility likely wouldn’t be completed until around 2027.