GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Another employer is opening up shop in the Madison Square neighborhood of Grand Rapids in an effort to find more workers and strengthen the community.

Gentex, a technology company specializing in automotive electronics, will open a new facility on Cottage Grove Street near Madison Avenue in late May. It will create 50 new jobs.

Already the largest employer in Ottawa County, with facilities across Zeeland and Holland, Gentex is expanding to Grand Rapids to address an ongoing labor shortage.

“Eliminating barriers, we’re tackling transportation,” said Craig Piersma, the vice president of marketing and corporate communications for Gentex. “We know that with gas prices, with cost of vehicle ownership today is going through the roof, we can’t expect people to drive all the way out to Gentex. So we need to come where the people are.”

The nonprofit Amplify GR helped Gentex pick this neighborhood because it’s near city center and close to US-131.

“What we really recognize transportation becomes a barrier in access to employment,” said Jon Ippel, the executive director of Amplify GR. “This specific place provides access to the broader region through the road network.”

It’s also primed for new industry after other employers left.

“We have a lot of these large, vacant facilities that used to hold a lot of jobs,” Ippel said.

“We need a manufacturing-ready piece of property,” Piersma added. “Looking in that neighborhood, the idea is where are there pockets of people. So close to city center where a lot of people can either walk to work or take a bus to work.”

Amplify GR says the project is about local job creation. With new opportunities for workers not far from home, they’re hoping it benefits the greater community.

“With 50 new jobs coming into the neighborhood and all those additional paychecks, alright, that’s going to then directly help additional restaurants and other great things we hope to see in the neighborhood in the future,” Ippel said.

Piersma also said businesses will benefit from Gentex being there.

“You’re looking at what other suppliers, local businesses we might utilize at that manufacturing facility,” Piersma said. “It could be lawn care and maintenance … or a place to do training operations. It could be security. It could be catering.”

Gentex moved into the building, which was a recycling facility, one week ago. The facility is currently undergoing renovations before it opens in late May. Gentex plans on hosting job fairs and community events beforehand to introduce the company to the community.

Assembly workers will make materials for the company’s Homelink product, a device that can open garage doors and gates, turn on lights and home security and more.

Gentex isn’t the only company expanding to Madison Square. The tech company MCPC also opened a new facility down the block just a few months ago.

“I think we see each one of these things being an incremental improvement,” Ippel said. “There’s a tremendous amount of assets that exist in this community today. Things like this are one important addition to the great work’s that’s happening here.”