Here was an exciting story. There is a triangle on the north side of Flint that is the bad part of town. If you saw Flint Town on Netflix, this is the area of Flint that the show was shot in. So for more jobs to be created in Flint is good news, and jobs on the north side is great news.
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Lear breaks ground on new Flint factory
Updated Oct 2, 2017; Posted Oct 2, 2017
FLINT, MI - Gold-plated shovels gleamed in the sunshine Monday afternoon at the site of the former Buick City site on Flint's north side before digging into piles of dirt.
Officials are hopeful the 33-plus acres off East Hamilton Avenue with busted pavement and overgrown weeds where Lear Corporation is set to build a 156,000 square-foot facility will become the beacon for future growth in the city.
"We're here today to really start a journey for the next 18 months as we get this facility built," said Jason Scott, global vice president of Lear's General Motors seating group. "And it's a journey (that's going to be) ongoing as we become a part of the community and the city of Flint."
The company anticipates hiring more than 430 people for the seat manufacturing facility supplying General Motors' Flint Truck Assembly plant and employ 600 workers at full production mode by 2019.
The facility is expected to begin production of seats by April 2018.
Flint native Ray Scott, executive vice president of Lear and president of Lear's seating business, said the effort has been in the works for more than one year -- with production moving from the Rochester Hills facility -- and it was important to find the right fit in the city.
"Every time, everybody who was bringing different business proposals forward to me, I kept saying yeah but it's not Flint," he said. "I made sure we were doing the right things here. There's no question this is the right decision for us as a company, for our customer General Motors, and for our community here. We are really, really excited about bringing jobs here to Flint."
Lear employs approximately 156,000 employees at more than 250 facilities in nearly 40 countries across the globe. Jason Scott said the company "will target Flint residents," with the hiring process expected to begin in July 2018.
Tom McMillen, executive director of interiors and safety, global purchasing and supply chain at General Motors, thanked several partners for the development to come to fruition including Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, state Rep. Sheldon Neely, D-Flint, and Gerald Kariem, director of UAW Region 1-D.
Kariem offered his excitement at the news, calling it a "good day" for Flint.
"Flint is going to win today," he said. "I am sure that this Flint site will be another winning facility for Lear. I appreciate the corporation having the vision to relocate Lear here. It's showing they have confidence in Flint and proving their faith and confidence in the workers of Flint."
With the history tied to the site, Kariem commented many retirees and residents talk about what was but "now we can talk about what's going to be."
Weaver said she is optimistic the investment by Lear -- $29.3 million in capital investment that's being helped along by a $4.35 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant -- could spur further development in the community.
"We talk about how you bring leverage to do other things and I think that's what this will do," she said. "When people see that they're investing 30, 31 million to making this happen for the city of Flint, how can you not want to?
"This is a great city. We've got great people. We have hard workers and people that want to be contributing members to their community and they've been waiting for some jobs. Here they are. They're coming."