New FCA Jobs expected to boost Windsor economy
Hundreds of new FCA jobs expected to boost Windsor economy
Fiat Chrysler Automotive demonstrated the economic strength of the auto sector this week as it began rolling out one of the biggest hiring sprees in recent years, said city officials.
With the company poised to hire 600 new production workers at the Windsor Assembly Plant, Mayor Drew Dilkens joked that he’d be prepared to do cartwheels because of the dramatic economic spinoffs.
Sharing in the enthusiasm, the city’s unemployed were already submitting applications when job postings went live on FCA’s website Monday.
Economic development officials praised the creation of hundreds of well-paid jobs, saying it will lead to dramatic economic growth by giving workers increased spending power and generating a wave of indirect jobs among automotive parts suppliers.
“It’s very exciting news,” said Rakesh Naidu, CEO of the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation. “Chrysler is our largest employer, so when they hire more people, it shows the company’s extremely committed to our region.”
FCA officials would not confirm the exact number of new hires Monday, but sources told the Star the figure would be at least 600.
“If (the number) goes up that high, I’ll do cartwheels,” Dilkens said. “It’s a positive sign the company is doing well. It shows they believe in Windsor through this significant investment.”
The Windsor Assembly Plant recently completed a $2-billion, three-month retooling in preparation for the next-generation minivan. FCA plans to produce both the current minivan model as well as the redesigned Chrysler Town and Country through to 2017.
That kind of investment gives city officials leverage when trying to lure new companies to Windsor in a bid to further diversify the economy, according to Dilkens.
“We can show (investors) that a big company like that is investing in the community and that coming here is something (they) should consider,” he said.
The Unemployed Help Centre also celebrated the hiring spree. CEO June Muir gushed about the “wonderful” opportunities residents now have to earn a liveable wage.
By Monday afternoon, her staff already helped two clients apply for work on the FCA website.
“I imagine we’re going to get really busy,” she said.
The spending power of people making good money is not lost on Muir, who boasted about the power of giving residents more disposable income.
“When people have good jobs, it allows them to spend money in our community and that’s good for the economy,” she said.
This latest investment by one of the Big Three car makers illustrates the importance of the auto sector in the region, according to Matt Marchand, CEO and president of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Though there is a significant push to diversify, there must be a concerted effort to nurture and grow the existing manufacturing sector.
“This (investment) demonstrates the significance of having (original equipment manufacturers) here in Ontario,” Marchand said. “All of these OEMs have integrated parts supply systems that are close by. So, the spinoff of these new jobs will be more work for the supply chain.”
Naidu agreed, stressing the importance of protecting the auto sector.
“It’s extremely important to diversify, but that doesn’t mean we want to give up what we heave,” he said.
Marchand said the latest FCA investment is a reminder of Canada’s need to hammer out a national automotive strategy, which would go a long way to preserve existing jobs and create new ones.
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