ZEELAND, Mich. (WOOD) - Gentex, one of West Michigan's powerhouse automotive manufacturing companies, is looking to hire more than 30 people.
"We're seeing a significant growth in the North American market in the number of vehicles being built right now," said Bruce Los, Gentex Senior Vice President.
Because of the advanced manufacturing that will be done at the new Zeeland plant, finding qualified workers has been hard work.
"We are focused on manufacturing and electrical engineers and also on the maintenance electrician area, a lot of technical support for the work in do in manufacturing electronics," said Los. "To find people in this environment takes a bit more work, we need to talk to more people. That is part of why we are having the job fair this Friday is to get more people in."
The company says recent college graduates is the fastest growing group of people the company hires -- which is good news for many.
"We have seen the number of college graduates, young men and women coming back into West Michigan and wanting to be part of manufacturing," Los said.
Some question the growth of manufacturing in West Michigan after last Friday's announcement that Benteler Automotive is going to close its plant on Hall Street in Grand Rapids, where more than 200 employees currently work.
Benteler says some of those employees may be assigned to other plants. 24 Hour News 8 has learned others will get help from The Right Place, a West Michigan economic development group.
"We want to be proactive in making sure that there is a timely and efficient transition that results in as few people as possible leaving without future employment and quickly moving toward seeing that the property is reused and repositioned for uses by other potential other industrial and manufacturing operations," Rick Chapla, Vice President of Development at The Right Place, said.
Chapla agreed that in West Michigan is doing well.
"West Michigan's economy is booming, manufacturing is booming," he said.
The Right Place says even though Benteler Automotive is closing one of its West Michigan plants, other companies are doing well.
"It's good that they are hiring, it presses the point that we have to be sure that the people that live and work in West Michigan find employment as close as possible to their places of residences, so that is a good thing. But there is a shortage and I think it points to the trend that we will be importing new residences, new people from outside of the West Michigan area that will come to West Michigan also to come and live and work and to add to the future growth of the economy."
Getex's job fair will be held Friday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at their facility at 58 East Riley Street in Zeeland.
According to the company, positions will be in Engineering, IT, and maintenance roles. They encourage a two- and four-year engineering or technical degree graduates to attend. Engineering experience is not necessary for the Production Support Engineer role. Applicants are asked to come with a resume.
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