Mid-Michigan Sees Manufacturing Job Boom

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Since losing his manufacturing job five years ago, all Joe Cheeney has wanted is another chance put his skills back to use.

"It's been very hard, bouncing between security and cooking [jobs]," he says.

So naturally, when Cheeney caught wind of 300 local job openings in the manufacturing field, he had to pinch himself.

"It's a big surprise," Cheeney says. "I heard some of the bigger companies have picked up some new jobs, that's what I'm hoping this leads to."

Turns out, there's no better time to find those jobs than now.

"There's actually been a recent surge in manufacturing in the last 18 months to two years," says Capital Area Michigan Works spokeswoman Kate Tykocki.

Tykocki says mid-Michigan is the only area in the state seeing growth in manufacturing jobs.

"Last year we saw a net gain in manufacturing employment," Tykocki says.

Places like Spartan Chassis and GM's Delta Township plant are all growing, requiring more manpower.

"The government has pushed us to ramp up to new rates and higher numbers which means of course new associates and new facilities," says Spartan Chassis president Richard Schalter.

There is, however, debate on how long this manufacturing jobs surge will last, and whether or not the market is stable enough to support them in the long term.

"It's not a long term trend but it does help in the short term," Tykocki says. "As new technology is deployed, people are replaced by that technology."

Still, Cheeney remains cautiously optimistic.

"I hope these are the jobs that stick around and not go away in four or five years, but no job is stable anymore."

But he's definitely willing to give it a try.

***Capital Area Michigan Works! will be holding interviews for the 300 manufacturing positions Friday at the Walter French building starting 9 a.m.

They are looking for bench loaders and material handlers.

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