Nearly half of Michigan’s Brownstown Battery Assembly employees are Millennials
The General Motors Brownstown Battery Assembly plant, in Michigan, is one of the newest and most technologically advanced facilities in the industry. For the first time in recent memory, 45 percent of the hourly workers at the plant are between 24 and 31 years old, part of the “Millennial” generation, also known as “Generation Y,” and they are successfully building the state-of-the-art batteries for extended-range electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt, Opel Ampera and the Cadillac ELR.
Millennials, generally acknowledged to be those born from the early 1980’s through around 2004, are known for a multi-tasking and tech-savvy skill set necessary for a job market that rewards diversity and flexibility. Brownstown Battery Assembly is well-suited to the forward thinking, environmentally friendly ideology that characterizes Generation Y. “As the only U.S. facility that mass produces batteries for extended-range electric vehicles, Brownstown Battery Assembly, part of a wholly owned GM subsidiary called GM Subsystems Manufacturing LLC, provides new and different jobs that pique the interest of younger job seekers,” stated a GM press release.
The multi-tasking, face-paced lifestyle of the Millennial generation has not always lent itself to career growth. According to the press release, “Almost nine in 10 Millennials are willing to put in the time to get ahead, yet just over one in two believe that people who spend a long time at one company are more likely to be successful than job hoppers.”
GM has been successful in attracting and retaining young talent at Brownstown with prospects of career development and rapid, merit-based advancement. “They’re not just coming to work here expecting to do the same job for the next 30 years,” said Plant Manager Jeff Lamarche. “They want variety and certainly do live up to the description of their generation in that they’re more portable. They want to do a lot of different things, and [they] adapt well to different jobs and different parts of the plant. They’re pretty motivated on how they can move up.”
This GM company is providing Millennials with much-needed opportunities for growth, and not only are these jobs benefitting and increasing the job security of a generation, the generation is also helping the auto industry. Jay, Baron, president and CEO of the Center for Automotive Research, maintains that enticing and recruiting young workers, a task that hasn’t been easy, is necessary for the health and future of the auto industry.
“We have struggled in the U.S. to expand our manufacturing base and attract young talent into good-paying jobs,” said Baron. “We are just now starting to see a downward trend in the average age of the hourly worker in the auto industry, which has been at historic highs in excess of 46 years old. It is critical that we reverse the aging of our manufacturing work force by attracting young talent and demonstrating the exciting new technologies under development in electronics, advanced materials and alternative powertrains that exist at plants like BrownstownTownship.”
The success of this plant is representative of the larger goals of GM. GM North America President Mark Reuss stated, “All of GM is committed to connecting with the Millennial generation, as employees and consumers. We must embrace a culture that gets behind this generation and positions them to lead us into the future. This plant is just one example of our young workers making a meaningful contribution together with managers who mentor them and value their perspective. ”
GM and the Millennial generation are working together to move forward in a productive direction that is mutually beneficial, a great sign for the future of the auto industry and the country’s young workforce.