Biggest Czech carmaker establishes €30 million fund for local integration and development
Škoda Auto, a subsidiary of Germany’s Volkswagen Group, has launched a three-year, €30 million regional development and integration programme titled Nové Boleslavsko (New Boleslav). The programme aims to make Mladá Boleslav, the seat of its corporate headquarters in central Bohemia, a more attractive place to live. In the Czech context, this programme represents a unique initiative implemented by a company to support both regional development and integration measures.
Škoda Auto employs around 30,000 people in its three manufacturing plants in the Czech Republic. Like other companies, Škoda has been dealing with the chronic labour shortage in the country and therefore actively recruits workers from abroad—for example, from Ukraine through the government’s Ukraine Project scheme.
Due to this intense recruitment, many long-term residents of Mladá Boleslav from the majority population complain about increasing problems with foreign workers, like the spread of unattractive dormitories for the workers, declining safety, or inadequate infrastructure. The increased presence of foreign workers became one of the important debates in recent local elections, when some candidates attempted to misuse it for political gains.
The Nové Boleslavsko programme thus aims to address these problems by supporting projects to develop housing for vulnerable groups, involving residents (both locals and foreign workers) in the life of the community, expanding leisure activities, strengthening the sense of security, increasing the quality and capacity of healthcare facilities and other infrastructure, as well as supporting cultural and educational initiatives.
Read more (in English)