How community colleges and developers are preparing for VinFast's arrival

Thursday, March 31, 2022
How electric carmaker will change life in Chatham County
Affordable housing and training workers are top of mind in Chatham County as electric vehicle maker VinFast prepares to create 7,500 jobs in the county.

PITTSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- April Stanley is a waitress at Al's Diner in Pittsboro.

She admitted that she had no idea -- there's been very little chatter at the restaurant -- about VinFast, the electric automotive company coming to Chatham County that is expected to create 7,500 jobs.

"I'm sure it'll be great for our community," said Stanley.

According to the state commerce department, more than half of the county's 76,000 residents go to work in another county.

But With VinFast, that could change.

"That means more money for the community. We need more customers here and we can always use the business so it'll help us," said Stanley.

Vinfast is driving up interest in Chatham's real estate market.

"Yes, our phones are ringing off the hook. they're ringing for people from all over the country. Because they're seeing this and they're like Vinfast is coming," said Kris Howard, broker and owner of Chatham Homes Realty.

Finding affordable homes is a challenge.

The average employee salary at VinFast will be $51,000.

The arrival of a major employer will have an effect on Chatham County's real estate market.

But according to state data, the median household income in Chatham County is $70,000.

And the average home value is $281,000.

According to Triangle Mulitple Listing Service, right now there are 89 homes for sale in the county, but fewer than 20 are listed for less than $500,000.

Howard said developers are expressing interest to her in developing lower-cost communities near VinFast's planned location in Moncure.

That would create homeownership opportunities for people like Brent Alexander.

"I would love to be working there. Especially with my skills now. I think it would be really interesting and cool," said Alexander.

The 20-year-old Alexander is studying robotic welding at Central Carolina Community College.

The college received $38 million to create a school-to-career pipeline for VinFast.

"Part of this project is really sitting down with VinFast, taking the time to map out with them What are those jobs? What are those skills? What do we need to add to our catalog of programs so that individuals in our communities are prepared to go into them successfully?" said Margaret Robertson, Vice President of Workforce Development at Central Carolina Community College.