Hiring 716: Panasonic to grow production, staff at SolarCity

Posted at 8:30 PM, Jun 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-06 18:27:12-04

Hiring 716is WKBW's new initiative committed to highlighting employment opportunities, challenges and success stories in Western New York. 

If you drive past SolarCity in South Buffalo, you can't miss that massive Tesla sign.

What you may not know is that inside that same facility are approximately 300 people working for Panasonic.

"A lot of people don't know we're here. We're doing our best to get our name out there and make sure people know that we offer some great careers here," Terry VanEpps, Talent Acquisition Manager at Panasonic Eco Solutions Solar New York.

In an exclusive interview with 7 Eyewitness News, Panasonic executives described what it's been like to operate and grow a large-scale advanced manufacturing business in Western New York.

Mark Shima, Panasonic Eco Solutions Solar New York President, says they have had a challenge of retaining workers since the company opened in early 2017.  He attributes the high turnover to the twelve hour swing shifts, which have since ended for employees in solar module production.  Now that employees have steady day- or night-shifts, Shima expects staff retention to increase.

About 100 employees are working on assembling the specialty solar modules over four shifts.

Panasonic is looking to hire at least 80 more workers so that it can grow its module production, and also expand its manufacturing to include solar cells.  Click here for a list of positions.  

"We want to transfer our production know-how and experiences to local employees from around here. And we sincerely would like to hire people for a longer time, because it is very important to improving productivity and production," Shima told 7 Eyewitness News Anchor Ashley Rowe.

On June 13th, it will hold a hiring fair at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center from 5-8pm.  While registration is not mandatory, it is encouraged.  Click here to register.  Panasonic will facilitate a presentation and interviews every 30 minutes beginning at 5:30 p.m.