Ford trains employees as LAP upgrades to produce Escape

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Employees at Ford's Louisville Assembly Plant (LAP) are going back to work.  About 1,000 worker are there already. That number will increase to about 3,100 on Wednesday.  All employees working on the line will re-trained.

Ford spent about $600 million retooling LAP to produce the Ford Escape. Existing and current employees will train on simple assembly line procedures before going to the floor.

"I've got to take guys from all over, especially guys who have come here under stressful situations, who have been moved hundreds of miles with their family, and I've got to turn them into a team," said electrician Tim Moreschi.

In the simulation, each job takes about 42 seconds. If the job isn't finished in time, an alarm will go off until it is completed, just like it would in real life.

"Remember the old thing about the auto workers that don't want to work?" said Moreschi. "Not true. We've got some of the most skilled people I have ever worked with."

Thousands of employees are learning the new equipment to assemble the smaller sized SUV, which is the 2013 Ford Escape. Plant Manager John Savona said it would not have been possible without incentives from the city and state.

"The incentives provided to Ford Motor Company in this plant were very instrumental in helping us contain program costs to be able to bring the product here and to be able to do what we're doing for our employees," said Savona.

The goal is to get the new Escape to dealers by late May.  Ford will add a third shift of about 1,300 people it has already hired to work at LAP later this year.

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