Manufacturing in the news

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GM's move to EVs will mean some jobs lost, some new jobs created

About 35,000 hourly jobs could perish across the car industry as GM and other automakers move to EVs, said Marick Masters, a Wayne State University business professor who specializes in labor issues and has studied the potential impact of transitioning to EVs. GM has said all of its light-duty vehicles will be zero-emissions by 2035 and that GM will be a carbon neutral company by 2040. The typical internal combustion engine has about 2,000 parts in it, Masters said. Whereas EVs use far fewer parts, some parts might be bigger such as batteries, but fewer people are needed overall to make EVs. "There will be some job loss," Masters said. "The question is how much of that can be mitigated?" If the move to EVs is accelerated by politicians pushing to control climate change and improve infrastructure with more charging stations, that will only hasten the “dislocation of jobs," Masters said. “I think anybody has reason to be worried," Masters said. "You also have to factor in how popular are electric vehicles going to be to foreign competitors, what is the cost to make them, how profitable will they be versus internal combustion ... all of that impacts the performance of the company and that will impact jobs, too.”
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Detroit, FCA work to match residents to Jeep jobs

Experts say there could be some challenges in finding qualified Detroiters to fill and maintain the production and skilled trade positions to a level that would please city leaders. City officials, however, say the initial response it has received from interested Detroit residents — more than 11,000 — signals that many Detroiters could be willing and able to take on the new jobs. Detroit is leading the effort to screen applicants for the positions. It’s going to be critical that Detroiters are prepared when they apply for the jobs, said Marick Masters, a professor of management at Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business. “Today’s auto workers are much more skilled," he said. "It requires a lot more knowledge than in the past. People aren’t just going to… like they did in the '30s and '40s, walk into the plant and say 'I’m ready' and they’re going to take you that very day. I think what we have to do in Detroit is make certain that our workforce is as ready as possible.”

Automotive Innovation Center offers hands-on education

Innovation is at the heart of engineering and manufacturing - and sometimes these advancements can come from unexpected places. To foster pursuit of these advancements, automotive seating and electrical systems manufacturer Lear has taken over a historic building in downtown Detroit to launch their new Innovation Center. The center is planned as a hub for creativity, automotive advanced concept development and hands-on learning for Detroit college students studying engineering and design. As part of an effort to revitalize the Capitol Park area, the new space will allow for development of new automotive products and technologies, encourage non-automotive business opportunities and foster collaboration with Wayne State University’s College of Engineering  and the College for Creative Studies.