Flex-N-Gate Detroit manufacturing plant officially begins production with 50 percent Detroit-based workforce
- Global auto parts manufacturer partnering with Detroit at Work to train, hire Detroiters
- One in every two employees are Detroiters, hiring and training still underway
- $160 million plant is largest investment by an auto supplier in the City of Detroit in over 20 years
Flex-N-Gate owner Shad Khan, Governor Rick Snyder and Mayor Mike Duggan, along with state and local leaders today officially opened the global auto supplier’s new $160 million manufacturing facility on the city’s east side. Flex-N-Gate Detroit began production today with significant Detroit-based workforce, with 50 percent of the first 230 employees living in the city. Flex-N-Gate will continue to hire Detroiters first as they ramp up production and residents can still access training and apply for these new jobs through Detroit at Work.
The manufacturing facility, the largest investment by an auto supplier in the City of Detroit in over 20 years, will supply parts to Ford Motor Company and could employ up to 750 people at full capacity. Flex-N-Gate is a top global auto supplier of exterior trim components, aluminum and steel modular stamped body in white and chassis assemblies, lighting and other OEM automotive products.
“This plant and the benefits it will bring to Detroit and its workforce gives me as much pride as anything I’ve been part of over my many years with Flex-N-Gate,” said Shad Khan, Owner and CEO of Flex-N-Gate. “It’s amazing to have worked with partners representing the state, city and Ford who shared my goal of doing something special in the city proper of Detroit – and especially for those who live in the city limits – by creating hundreds of sustainable manufacturing jobs, investing in their training and providing a pathway to making a solid middle-class living. I’m very proud of our collective effort as well as the opening of a new facility that will be the gold standard for technology, efficiency and safety.”
Flex-N-Gate joins other new manufacturing and industrial facilities, including LINC Logistics and ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks, in an area that just 10 years ago was mostly vacant land and abandoned buildings. The 480,000 square foot facility, which broke ground in April 2017, is the centerpiece to the city’s growing I-94 industrial Park and is a sign of the city and state’s success in attracting more manufacturing jobs back to Detroit.
“Detroit is the comeback city in the nation and commitments to Michigan like the ones made by Flex-n-Gate are going a long way to ensure that comeback continues,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “Cooperation is the key to success and this project shows what can happen when people work together for their neighbors, their city and the state as a whole.”
“Ford Motor Company is pleased to support Flex-N-Gate, the City of Detroit, and the State of Michigan for bringing this new facility and jobs to the area,” said Burt Jordan, Vice President Global Vehicle & Indirect Purchasing and Supply Chain Sustainability, Ford Motor Company. “This project is yet another step toward the revitalization of Detroit and the auto industry.”
Detroit at Work
Flex-N-Gate is partnering with the City to ensure Detroiters have access to jobs and job training for the new positions at the manufacturing facility. So far Flex-N-Gate has hired over 100 workers from within the city.
“We are building a city where anyone who wants a job has access to one. Through Detroit at Work, Flex-N-Gate has hired 115 Detroiters so far, some who live in the same neighborhood as the plant,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “As we bring more manufacturing facilities to Detroit, we’re going to ensure that they look to Flex-N-Gate as an example when it comes to putting Detroiters to work.”
A Detroit At Work training program to prepare Detroiters for these jobs was developed by Flex-N-Gate and Focus:HOPE. Training was available for Detroit residents for hourly positions like Hi-Lo drivers and operators and Flex-N-Gate hired 70 Detroit graduates of the program. Training is still available and Detroit residents can sign up through detroitatwork.com or by calling 313-962-WORK.
Jobs for Detroiters, Benefits for the Community
Flex-N-Gate Detroit’s commitment to hire Detroiters came out of the community engagement process for the project, where residents voiced concerns about access to the new jobs. Today, as Detroiters continue to fill the majority of jobs available at Flex-N-Gate, work continues on a solution for another key resident concern: truck traffic. In the past, trucks from the industrial park drove through residential areas.
Now, street improvements on Georgia Street, along the facility’s south side, are underway as part of a separate $2.6 million grant from the US Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Administration. The Georgia Street improvements will fortify the streets for the new trucks, taking them off neighborhood streets.
“Right now you’ve got over 100 Detroit residents working at Flex-N-Gate, and many right from the area around the plant, which is the biggest thing we need right now in the city of Detroit to help move our people out of poverty,” said Councilman Scott Benson. “Through the community engagement process for Flex-N-Gate, the residents were able to voice their concerns directly to the developers and negotiate these community benefits.”