Siemens forging Charlotte's new future

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Siemens Energy looked more like a theatre than a manufacturing plant, with a backlit stage, a fog machine, a laser light show, and a booming announcer proclaiming Charlotte "your home, our home and the new home of energy in America."

But as the curtain rose at the manufacturing company's grand opening of its new gas turbine plant, it became apparent that this is more than just a show. Siemens is dramatically improving Charlotte's economic future.

Over the past year, the company has created 700 full time jobs.

Siemens has now hired 430 of our trainees, just this year, and they expect to hire another 400 next year," says Tony Zeiss of Central Piedmont Community College. "So if people are looking for a job, figuring out where they are is pretty simple."

But the good news is not just the number of jobs, it's the fact that they're sustainable. The most promising frontier in the country right now...clean energy, and Siemens is making major strides.

In fact, UNC Charlotte has so much confidence in Siemens, it's designing a program with the company to deliver students right to them.

"They've been critical to help us shape the kind of curriculum they need so the graduates can hit the ground running when they walk in the doors," says Robert Johnson, Dean of the College of Engineering at UNCC.

Siemen's new plant is the most advanced gas turbine facility in the world.

Just one of the machines can light 250,000 homes, and when nuclear stations start using them instead of coal, "It's the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off the road for a year," says the company's Mark Pringle.