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Preparing the Workforce

Preparing the Workforce

TCC a Driving Force in GM Arlington's Major Expansion

The new Arlington Logistics Center, a 1.2 million-square-foot space built by General Motors Co. for suppliers to its Arlington assembly plant, is well on track to bring 1,400 jobs to the North Texas region, and Tarrant County College is helping steer support for the workforce and training needs for the automaker’s massive expansion.

The supplier park is part of the $1.4 billion expansion GM started in 2015 of its Arlington complex, which rolls out the Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade sports utility vehicles. GM began operations in Arlington in 1954 and has a current workforce of more than 4,200. The sprawling industrial park consists of two manufacturing and warehouse buildings at the former 83-acre Six Flags shopping mall that are now home to a number of GM’s primary suppliers. The new park is expected to create improved logistics efficiency and coordination, while bringing significant new employment opportunities to the area.

TCC Corporate Solutions & Economic Development and TCC Workforce Services are partnering with GM, working alongside the company and its suppliers in the expansion of operations and creation of new jobs. Corporate Solutions works with businesses, community and economic development organizations and industry associations to develop the workforce needed to grow and succeed. Corporate Solutions provides training classes in computer technology, management and leadership, language, safety and specializations such as machining, electronics, logistics, call center and welding.

“It’s a great partnership,” said City of Arlington Economic Development Manager Bruce Payne.

TCC is helping with training of new labor interested in these industries who may not have the specific skills needed. They’re being trained and are getting on board early.

Bruce Payne
Economic Development Manager, City of Arlington

One of GM’s major suppliers benefiting from TCC Corporate Solutions is Flex-N-Gate Corp. (FNG). Founded in 1956, the Michigan-based company manufactures metal and plastic original equipment components and mechanical assemblies in the global automobile industry. Components range from bumpers and hinges to pedal systems and instrument panels. Careers at FNG include opportunities in product engineering, project management, testing, stamping, welding, molding, painting, plating, assembly and shipping.

Flex-N-Gate (FNG), ranked No. 59 on Forbes’ list of America’s Largest Private Companies, boasts 64 manufacturing facilities worldwide – including seven North American testing facilities – with more than 24,000 employees. The company posted revenue of $6 billion in 2017.

Earlier this summer, FNG relocated its Texas manufacturing operations and corporate offices from Arlington to Grand Prairie in a $175 million expansion. The company plans to employ 800 people by early 2020. Just over 600 of these 800 jobs are new jobs being created, according to Don Cumming, director and general manager of the Flex-N-Gate Texas facility. These positions run the gamut from production operators to manager-level jobs.

Cumming said FNG is identifying individuals with the correct aptitude for certain fields, yet lacking specific training, and partnering with TCC to get these individuals trained for success in the workplace.

“TCC has been a key partner in preparing our workforce for this expansion,” Cumming said. “They assisted in curriculum selection, grant writing, scheduling and training. With the current job market here in the DFW area, we are not going to be able to hire externally for all of our trades jobs that we need to fill. This is allowing us to develop our current workforce to take on higher skilled jobs.”

TCC received a $97,436 Skills Development Fund grant through the Texas Workforce Commission to provide training for 53 current FNG employees working as assemblers, quality technicians, maintenance workers and forklift drivers. The existing employees are now prepared for advancement opportunities into maintenance or quality careers.

Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County is providing FNG assistance in both English as a Second Language and Adult Education courses. In addition, the company is working with Arlington’s Dan Dipert Career and Technical High School to identify workforce training opportunities and internships for both current and future employees.

“Workforce morale is very high and the team is excited about the future opportunities. As our workforce grows, I expect the partnership to grow with it,” Cumming said.

This tight job market makes training even more important as it becomes more and more difficult to hire an experienced individual for a skilled trades job.

Don Cumming
Director and General Manager, Flex-N-Gate Texas

The partnership between FNG and TCC has produced a positive impact, Cumming added.

“As far as our community is concerned, we have the opportunity here to give individuals training while continuing to work in their current roles at Flex-N-Gate and affording them the opportunity to take on higher skilled and higher paying jobs, which I would expect in turn have a positive impact on our community,” Cumming said.

Another ongoing collaboration involves TCC Corporate Solutions, TCC Workforce Services and GM supplier International Automotive Components (IAC). Headquartered in Luxembourg, IAC is a global manufacturer of automotive components and systems including instrument panels, console systems, door panels, headliners and overhead systems. IAC has 50 locations in 16 countries with 22,000 employees and had sales of $4.4 billion in 2017.

IAC’s new Arlington facility will bring more than 400 new jobs that will depend on individuals with a range of diverse skills, backgrounds and experiences.

TCC Corporate Solutions and TCC Workforce Services are acting as a bridge between IAC and individuals seeking new employment, education and training opportunities, according to Eric Sams, plant manager of the new IAC Arlington site. Together, IAC and TCC will collaborate to discover skilled, local talent and to develop and provide a thorough and comprehensive training and onboarding program to all new hires that will familiarize new IAC associates with the operations IAC will be executing in its Arlington facility.

“IAC is very excited to partner with TCC and looks forward to discovering more ways that it can cultivate a long-lasting partnership that positively impacts IAC, TCC, the City of Arlington and Tarrant County,” Sams said.