GM investment delivers hope in Flint

Metal stamping plant is adding employees and shifts as business begins to stabilize


Flint, MI has been a symbol of the decay of the American automobile industry, and of American manufacturing in general. Now it is showing signs of a recovery, just as manufacturing begins to recover as well.

The Flint Journal is reporting about the impact of GM’s $75 million investment at the Flint Metal Center. The influx of cash has resulted in more than 250 hires in the last year, and a third shift could expand those numbers. While it is unlikely to return to its peak of more than 5,000 jobs, the new hires have provided something scarce around Flint in recent years – hope.

Cynthia Kane, a team leader for one of the plant’s metal presses, said the uncertainty has been an issue. “It’s been very stressful on me — and not just me, but my entire family,” Kane told the newspaper.

The plant produces parts for the Chevy Equinox and the new Chevy Volt. The paper reports one large and one small press are scheduled to be activated in early 2011, bringing the center’s total to 17.

“We could have had the perfect storm and blew this place up,” Shop chairman Don Reinhart said of the potential for animosity from people who have been redirected to Flint.

With regular employment comes a small dose of hope for the future, said Kane. “We can concentrate more on our jobs in here rather than worrying whether we’re going to have jobs or not,” she said.

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