Czech carmaker Škoda Auto has established a 30 million euro (750 million crown) endowment fund with the aim of making the seat of its corporate headquarters in central Bohemia a more attractive place to live.
Škoda Auto, a subsidiary of Germany’s Volkswagen Group, said the goals of the Nové Boleslavsko (New Boleslav) programme are to support the construction and maintenance of quality housing and healthcare facilities and other infrastructure in Mladá Boleslav, as well as cultural and education initiatives.
The carmaker, which is the region’s largest employer and the Czech Republic’s biggest exporter, is working with town officials to motivate more people to settle in Mladá Boleslav, a city about 50 kilometres northeast of Prague.
It plans to spend the money over the coming three years and is soliciting ideas from the general public over the coming months on where to concentrate efforts.
“Our 10-week challenge for Mladá Boleslav is centralized at www.noveboleslavsko.cz. You can choose an area where you want to express yourself and put specific ideas there," said Michal Kadera, director of Škoda Auto's external relations, the regional daily Boleslavský Deník reported.
Škoda Auto has a staff of around 30,000 in three manufacturing plants in the Czech Republic. The average gross salary at the carmaker stood at CZK 40,557 last year, about 30 percent higher than the current national average.
However, like many industrial companies, Škoda Auto has had difficulty filling posts due to a chronic labour shortage in the country and has been actively recruiting workers from abroad. Mladá Boleslav has a small historic centre and is not a popular tourist destination.
Some long-term residents complain about a mushrooming of unattractive dormitories for foreign workers.
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