Elon Musk: Tesla will need over 10,000 people in Austin

Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk has revealed that the company will need more than 10,000 people in the Austin area over the next year or so.

The electric car maker had originally estimated it would create over 5,000 jobs at its rising factory in Travis County, but Musk made a tweet on March 31 that indicates a much bigger job boon for the region.

“Over 10,000 people are needed for Giga Texas just through 2022!” Musk tweeted, sharing a screenshot of an Austin Business Journal story published earlier this week about the company’s hiring plans, including comments from Chris Reilly, Tesla’s director of recruiting and workforce development.

The tweet begs the question: Are those direct or indirect jobs? Musk couldn’t be reached for comment.

Manufacturing experts said that the car manufacturer could create 15,000 jobs because of the scope of Tesla’s planned operations. Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) plans to produce its Model 3s, Model Y SUVs, Cybertrucks and Semi tractor-trailers in Central Texas. The factory will also host a battery cell manufacturing unit.

By publication time, more than 280 job openings in Austin were posted on Tesla’s website, with positions available in a wide array of engineering and managerial capacities. The company has said it will offer an average annual salary of about $47,000.

Tesla has established relationships with Austin Community College, Huston-Tillotson University, the University of Texas and the Del Valle Independent School District, Reilly said during a March 25 panel hosted by YTexas, a business network for companies relocating or expanding in the state.

The car manufacturer is well known for not requiring college degrees for some of its jobs, but Reilly said part of the work they’re doing with the local colleges is “thinking about recruiting students who can graduate high school and start a career at Tesla while continuing their education.”

“Getting to build programs with these educational institutions, with the Texas Workforce Commission, has just been so exciting. It’s really been a part of the thread of this work from site selection,” he said. “We have opportunities for entry-level roles, for individuals that are coming from outside manufacturing … that have that passion, have that drive and want to come make a difference.”

“This is a home run for the Austin region,” Laura Huffman, president and CEO of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “Tesla is a unique project because it offers a broad spectrum of job opportunities for every level of experience. … The need for 10,000 employees over the next year will offer life changing opportunities for people to live, work and thrive in the best place to live in America. We can and will provide the talent needed to fill these jobs as we have done successfully for decades.”