More than 10K Detroiters register for FCA expansion jobs
LaShae Clements has worked in an assembly plant before.
She was a temporary worker at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jefferson North Assembly Plant, drilling the inside of vehicle door panels, a job she gave up a few years ago when she learned she was pregnant.
Now, like thousands of other Detroiters, Clements hopes to be selected for one of the 4,950 jobs FCA says will be open as part of its expansion on the city’s east side to crank out more SUVs. Detroiters, and specifically those living in an area around the plant expansions, will get a four-week early hire window that puts them near the front of the line for the new jobs. Laid-off FCA workers from Belvidere Assembly in Illinois would get first dibs.
On Thursday, the 29-year-old Clements joined scores of job seekers at Second Ebenezer Church on Dequindre for the final job fair in Detroit city government’s effort to provide a ready supply of city residents for the FCA openings.
Clements said she enjoyed her earlier assembly plant experience, although some people have trouble with so much standing and keeping up with the line.
“I kept up pretty well. It’s very repetitive,” Clements said.
Nicole Sherard-Freeman, recently named as executive director for Workforce Development for the city after heading up Detroit Employment Solutions Corp., said the more than 10,000 people who formally registered for the jobs process is more than organizers could have hoped for, and those who did so were better prepared than expected. About 30,000 people had shown initial interest in the effort, such as by signing up online.
On Thursday, attendees were given a “Detroiter job readiness checklist passport” that was filled in as they completed the various steps, including providing identification, attending a presentation and completing a math and mechanical reasoning assessment. Those who complete all the steps will be sent a link via email in late August or early September to formally apply.
“It’s so much more than we ever anticipated it would be,” Sherard-Freeman said. “Folks are more ready already than we anticipated. We didn’t imagine the enthusiasm, the level of readiness.”
As the last job fair in the process, walk-ins were also being accepted, so the number of actual attendees was said to be even larger than previous such events. However, this isn’t the last opportunity for Detroiters to get their names on the list for early interviews.
Sherard-Freeman said interested Detroit residents can still come into one of the neighborhood Detroit at Work Career Centers. She noted that in addition to the FCA jobs, several suppliers will also be hiring, representing the multiplier effect of assembly plant work.
While the job fair represented an early step in preparing to apply for the FCA jobs, Sherard-Freeman said about 50 people who came to the fair were able to get work at other employers while they were there. Some of those entities were ready to hire, while others would take information about the attendees and contact them later.
Omari Gardner, 45, and his daughter, Dasha Gerod, 22, were looking at other potential jobs even though Gardner said he came in initially because of the FCA openings. Gardner works as a cook at his family’s Jamaican restaurant, Rono’s, on West McNichols, and wants to take part in the trade program offered by the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights.
“I’m just hoping for something,” Gardner said.
Alec Speshock, senior manager at the Emagine theater in Birmingham, said the theater chain has numerous openings particularly at this time of year when college students return to school.
“We’re trying to find good talent who wants to work,” Speshock said.
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