Detroit Residents Are First In Line To Obtain Jobs at the New FCA’s Plant In The Motor City
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has hired Detroiters and has invested $13.8 million in community improvements, workforce training, and education as part of a planned $2.5 billion investment in its Jefferson North and Mack Avenue assembly plants. A citizens advisory council approved a community benefits agreement with FCA plants on April 24th, with the city of Detroit contributing $17.4 million and $4 million which came from state and federal sources. They are converting the two Mack Avenue engine plants into a Jeep assembly plant and modernizing the Jefferson North Assembly Plant.
Detroiters will be able to apply for jobs at the two plants ahead of the general public according to the advisory council meeting. They are considering it one of the essential parts of this unique package of benefits to Detroiters. FCA is hoping to get the City Council’s approval on May 7th.
FCA has determined that $5 million will go toward the education programs that are aimed at developing its future workforce, which includes $1 million to start a manufacturing career academy at Southeastern High School, which is a block from the Jefferson North complex. The Auburn Hills-based automaker will donate $500,000 to the Detroit Promise scholarship program, and it will establish a partnership with Wayne County Community College District. It will create an automotive manufacturing co-op program where students will go to school three days a week and work one two days of the week in one of the FCA plants.
“This is probably one of the more important partnerships in this program,” Jemison told Crain’s. FCA will donate an additional $500,000 to the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program, which helps to fund thousands of Detroit teenagers with summer jobs. Jemison has stated that the hiring priority commitment by the FCA and programs are to elaborate a channel of workers for the two assembly plant will be a “game changer.” It will be a game-changer for the nearby east-side neighborhoods that have suffered from years of abandonment.
Detroit’s $17.4 million agreement benefit includes the work recruitment for Detroit of $4 million, which screens and gives job training for city residents who get hired by FCA. There is also the $5.9 million for 300 priority demolitions of blighted and abandoned houses in the neighborhoods closest to the Jefferson North and Mack plants. The $7 million for construction of a 15-foot wall along the back of properties on Beniteau Street after the St. Jean Street berm was shoved.
The $1.8 million will go toward the grant program for homeowners on Beniteau Street to apply for grants that will pay for sound-deadening insulation, siding, and windows to minimize the exposure to noise from the Mack Avenue plant. The main take away that the advisory council wanted was to ensure that the residents can insulate those homes from the noise and the traffic they are going to face. Henry Williams, a member of the neighborhood advisory council that lives near the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood, said it was vital for them to do.
To have some greenery, residents want to have ivy growing on the wall; it will suck some of that pollution out. All along Southeastern High School, there will be space for murals to be painted. FCA plans to open the first new assembly plant in Detroit securing 200 acres of land surrounding the sprawling auto assembly complex on the city’s far east side.
After the city reached land deals with Hantz Farms, the Great Lakes Water Authority, and DTE Energy Co. Great Lakes Water Authority is an 80-acre parcel owned by the Moroun family’s Crown Enterprises which has remained the last remaining parcel to purchase. The community benefits agreement has to get approval from the City Council to go into effect.
“We look forward to working with the community to realize the full potential of this proposal, which will provide $35.2 million in support for neighborhood improvements, housing, workforce development, education and training programs, and environmental initiatives,” FCA said in a statement. “This investment is above and beyond the $2.5 billion the company plans to invest in its manufacturing facilities and the creation of 4,950 new jobs in Detroit.”