Hemlock Semiconductor’s Half Hiring Spree

Let’s say you decided to get a communications degree or an art degree in college, thinking it would lead to a high-paying job. I would probably ask you to take the money you were going to spend and throw into the nearest bonfire. On the other hand, if you said you were in a two-year chemical engineering degree program specifically set up to get you a job at a soon-to-open solar panel plant, I’d say that sounds like a reasonable idea.

But it turns out that less than half the people that went through APSU’s program are going to be working at the Hemlock Semiconductor plant this year. Wait, what’s that?

WSMV-TV (RIP Bill Hall) revealed that only 35 out of 84 students have been picked up by Hemlock, according to Austin Peay State University estimates. The prez of APSU, Tim Hall, said that 10 other grads have picked up employment with other companies. Presumably these companies will utilize their chemical engineering skills (i.e. mixing vinegar and oil to create delicious salad dressings at O’Charley’s).

Hemlock themselves didn’t want to talk to WSMV on camera (but then again who would want to f’ with Demetria), but did say that employment was not guaranteed.

So…much like people that went to clown college in the 80’s thinking “Circus of the Stars” was just the beginning to America’s renewed love affair with big tops, Clarksville area residents have been roped into the fanfare for the upcoming Hemlock plant. Beginning with the last mayor and governor (Piper and Bredesen), Clarksville’s love affair with solar power panels has been unstoppable.

Answer me this, will you be installing solar panels on your home this year? Don’t half-ass an answer, talking about saving the environment when you don’t believe in using the tech yourself. There may be a day when it’s affordable for you and me, but that ain’t today. Despite this fact, we’re hoping this great white hope saves the Clarksville job market and makes us a mega-force to be reckoned with. We hope everyone else invests in technology we don’t necessarily want yet.


In the meantime, people are getting degrees that won’t get them a job where they expected. But that’s not any different than most college grads, is it? Well, that’s unless you’re doing nursing or education, but that’s not the point. I think that there was a huge misconception about what the HSC and APSU partnership was going to do. People went in thinking that they would automatically be on the ground floor of the fancy new factory, ready to be the next boat marina millionaire.

It’s not so different from responding to an ad in the newspaper looking for “YOUNG ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE 18-25 FOR MODELING”, not knowing that all you’ll be doing is traveling in a black van trying to sell magazines door-to-door. At least it was only two years.

On the plus side, they might be able to get a comparable job NOT in Clarksville. If that’s the case, then win/win, right?


  1. MooCow

    Austin Peay saw a fine opportunity to separate some folks from their hard-earned, or high interest money, and they took it like a hooker after a GI on payday. The folks at Hemlock knew that there was no chance in hell that they would hire the locals from this program when they already have a fully trained and assimilated staff of zombies up north to do their bidding, but in the interest of getting their “gimmes”, they joined APSU in the Music Man song and dance of good will and a job behind every pencil. Happens everywhere across the south. Southern towns, for some strange reason, seem easy targets for companies like Hemlock; they come in, whisper sweet nothings into the government’s ear, promise them the moon, and even offer to hire a few locals to keep the good folks happy. Then, before the cigar smoke clears, and the ink has dried from Chester J. Municipal’s signature on the “We’re gonna give you all this stuff to come here” contract has even had a chance to dry, they back off from every promise, and tell folks that they were mistaken; that they, being the fine upstanding company who has come to save the town from poverty, never said such things. Clarksville has a LONG track record of this starting with Arcata Graphics-Baird Ward back in the late 80’s. It’s the circle of life in Clarksville. Nowadays it’s even worse… one whisper of that sweet word “jobs” is like the chorus of Angels from on high, and southern towns will sell a night in bed with their mother for a chance to get a company to locate there.

  2. dan

    I’ve met some folks who have gone through similar programs elsewhere. Essentially, if you have the degree you can find work many places, including Dupont, pfizer, refineries, etc. If someone thought they were guaranteed a job at HSC because they went through a program designed by them, man, that’s something. I went through a program in college designed by a large construction company (construction management major), but not once did I think “good thing this was designed by a company in my field, they’ll HAVE to hire me now!” Heck, not even 5% of my class got hired by the company, hearing that 50% got hired out of this program is pretty promising to me.

  3. Clarky McClarksville (Post author)

    “What’d I say?”
    “What’s it called?”

    But seriously, I’m sure the northern folk taking the big jobs won’t mind the warmer temps and lower cost o’ living…but just wait till they try to find something fun to do.

  4. Kat

    The name Hemlock sounds kind of creepy if you think about it. Kind of has the same ring to it as Monsanto! Lol. Maybe, years from now, we will be flipping through our internet tv channels and run across a documentary: “The Scandal of Hemlock”! lol. It just sounds like it fits. 🙂

  5. Northern Zombie

    You people need to come back to reality. It is just like any other college program you roll the dice when high school is over and hope you pick the right career path. I have a Fisheries and Wildlife Manangement degree and guess what I work at the Creepy Hemlock plant up North. Not once in my time spent at a State university was i ever guarenteed a job when i got done. I filled out resumes and applications just like everyone else. And the job i have today does not even come close to anything related to my degreee. Yes some of the courses i took helped me get the job i have that is apparently mindless and zombified by some. I have read numerous articles about this how Hemlock tricked people i dont see it folks it happens you go to college for some desired field and things just dont work out. I work with people that have teaching degrees,engineering degrees, and some that just have manufacturing backgrounds. It takes all kinds to make a plant like Hemlock work. Many of my co-workers applied for Jobs at the Clarksville site and were turned down and the jobs given to “locals from Clarksville”. And now guess what the same people that were turned down for the job have to train the people that are going to be working in Clarksville. If you ask me that is a bigger slap in the face. Not all the northern folks are taking y’alls Big Jobs!

  6. sarah

    I agree with Kat, the name Hemlock does sound ripe for scandal.

  7. Bung

    Well…serves you right for getting a degree that contains the word “fisheries.”

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