Applications for jobs at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles were open for Detroiters who pre-qualified to vie for employment in the new assembly plant on the east side of the city in August and it’s extending through September. The automaker had contacted residents who had previously attended job fairs and met the eligibility requirements with instructions on how to apply before non-Detroit residents did. Detroiters still had the opportunity to submit their applications, even if they hadn’t applied before.
More than 9,000 Detroit residents were pre-qualified for the 3,850 jobs available at the former Mack Avenue Engine Complex. It will begin producing the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV and a new three-row, full-size Jeep SUV by the end of 2020. FCA had pledged to give Detroiters a first chance at the assembly plant’s jobs as well as at the soon-to-be upgraded Jefferson North Assembly Plant; as part of a community benefits agreement, it negotiated with the city residents around the plant.
Residents living in the $1.6 billion project’s impact zone had the opportunity to begin applying for jobs back at the beginning of August. However, no production workers have yet been hired, an FCA spokeswoman said. Mike Duggan, Mayor for Detroit, hopes the city will be able to give FCA a list of up to 10,000 qualified Detroiters to be employed at its $2.5 billion Jeep plant expansion.
That’s up to twice as many the nearly 5,000 jobs that the investment is expected to bring to Detroit. “Our agreement is they have to interview all Detroit candidates before they interview anybody from the suburbs,” said Duggan during a Detroit at Work Job Readiness fair at the Messiah Baptist Church. “Some of the 5,000 jobs may be taken up by UAW folks coming from another place, but once they start the hiring, the hiring comes off of this list. We are preparing our residents for these jobs.”
There have been more than 9,000 Detroiters who attended one of the 200-plus job-readiness fairs that the city has hosted, the city says, a requirement for all residents seeking priority application access. The job fairs have drawn a lot of job seekers — and the job seekers are unemployed and have been out of the workforce for a while. “We have folks from a variety of industries that see this as a step up,” said the city’s executive director of workforce development Nicole Sherard-Freeman. Sherard-Freeman replaces Jeff Donofrio, who becomes director of the new Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity for Michigan. Sherard-Freeman said the turnout showed that Detroiters do want to work. The challenge is dismissing the mix-up about what it’s like to work in a manufacturing environment.
“This is not your grandfather’s plant,” she said. “Folks don’t know conditions are different. They’re very clean, updated, technology-current environments that are really great places to work.”
Fiat Chrysler received the approval back in May from the city and state to invest a $1.6 billion in developing the Mack Avenue facilities with a new plant. There was up to $900 million to update the Jefferson North Assembly Plant for the production of all-new three-row full-size Jeep SUV and plug-in hybrid models and the next-generation of Jeep Grand Cherokee. By late 2020, the company plans to introduce vehicles from the new assembly plant.
There was a community benefits agreement that was drafted by an advisory council of the neighborhood residents, the city, and the automaker. Fiat Chrysler has been in charge of hiring as many Detroiters as it can to fill the jobs that remain after the union-hiring obligations have been met. The employment in Detroit will pay $58,000 annually, on average, according to Fiat, and it will include skilled-trades positions, assembly line workers, and plant managers.
“Interviews for Detroit residents began later in August or early September,” Sherard-Freeman said. Detroit at Work will offer basic literacy and math tutoring for the applicants that need to brush up on the skills. After that, the application process will be open to all of the others who are looking for a job.
There will be more conditional offers which will be made later in 2019, and it will have start dates by early 2020. As for the job-readiness fairs, they have drawn interest from the other employers who are seeking Detroit interviewees. That’s an example, the Detroit Police Department has plans to hire up to 300 officers for 2020.
The Dakkota Integrated Systems, which builds automotive interior components, grilles, and suspensions, plans on creating 625 jobs as part of the $55 million new factory. They plan to build it on the 32-acre site which is vacant on the Rose Elementary School and Kettering High School buildings on Van Dyke on Interstate 94. The company will supply Fiat Chrysler’s new Jeep assembly plant on Mack Avenue.
You can search the inventory of Chrysler’s at Miami Lakes Automall. Make sure to stop by for a test drive and see if this model and make is the car for you.