Oct. 05–Precious McCoy is used to dealing with newbies.
As a trainer at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’Warren Truck Assembly Plant, McCoy teaches new hires about work on the assembly line.
On Friday, McCoy put an even younger group than normal through their paces.
As part of Manufacturing Day, 60 students from area high schools had come to the 80-year-old plant, which produces the Ram 1500 Classic pickup, and were getting a lesson from McCoy in a room known as the Work Hardening Area.
“This is where we teach (new employees) to do our jobs. We give them an idea of what to expect on the shop floor,” said McCoy, who has been at the plant for 19 years.
At one station, which focused on dexterity, students paired up and took turns putting pegs into a board to match specific color patterns as they raced the clock and each other. At another station, students used both hands to screw or unscrew nuts onto color-coded bolts. All the while, McCoy encouraged them, told them to work together to shouts of “Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork!” or watched to make sure they followed the rules.
The goal of Manufacturing Day, which dates to 2012 nationally and launched in Macomb County the following year, is to provide a window into the manufacturing process and help alleviate a worker shortage. In Macomb County, 72 companies participated this year.
Jesse Pate, 17, of Troy and a senior at Sterling Heights High School, had not considered auto manufacturing as a career, although he likes cars and had thought about auto body work and similar options. Seeing the inside of an auto plant gave Pate something else to consider.
“It’s actually pretty interesting … a lot cooler than you’d imagine until you really see it,” Pate said.
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel noted that manufacturing has changed from days past when factories were mostly dingy places to work and that Manufacturing Day helps introduce students and companies to each other in an environment when hiring is tough.
Wendi Gentry-Stuenkel, Fiat Chrysler’s head of supply chain management, said one of the biggest challenges for FCA involves finding workers.
“We’re competing with the Amazons of the world,” she said, noting that the event shows students who might not be thinking about the industry that it’s another option. “We’re working to improve the perception of the auto industry.”
Contact Eric D. Lawrence: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @_ericdlawrence.
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