AGS recruits local refugees to fill workforce demand
AGS Automotive Systems is a full-service supplier that is well-known for their expertise in designing and manufacturing front and rear impact systems. In recent years, the company has made major investments in Macomb County, both financially and through community workforce development.
In 2012, the company was looking to expand. After considering several possibilities, they chose to create a major
manufacturing plant in Sterling Heights. The Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development
(MCPED) worked closely with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the city of Sterling Heights
to create a package of incentives and assistance to land this investment in Macomb County.
The $21 million investment by AGS included the purchase and restoration of a 360,000-square-foot vacant
manufacturing facility and led to the creation of 90 new jobs over a two-year period. To fill their rapidly growing
workforce needs, AGS turned to the local community, initiating a nontraditional recruitment process that
benefitted both the company and the area residents. As a result, AGS’s employees come from a wide mix of
cultural backgrounds which reflect those of the local community.
One example of AGS’s recruitment efforts is their partnership with Michigan Staffing, a local temporary staffing agency, to employ Iraqi refugees. Detroit’s suburbs have absorbed tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees in recent years
after violence erupted in the wake of the war. The number of Iraqi refugees arriving in Michigan nearly doubled in the last four years, with 2,751 arriving in 2014. Through Lutheran Social Services, many of these refugees have
settled in Sterling Heights.
“We feel very fortunate that the needs of our organization and the needs of so many people in the community came together at the same time,” said Jennifer Rizk, human resource manager at AGS.
There were some initial challenges to overcome, not only due to the pace of the automotive business, but also from the perspective of bringing different cultures and languages together. Fortunately, several employees are
bilingual. The new hires have embraced the company’s core values and have become outstanding leaders on the shop floor and in the business.
“Through teamwork, cooperation and by working to develop an understanding of each other’s needs and perspectives, we have been able to create a safe and productive environment that allows our employees to grow and develop,” said Rizk. “Their success is our success, and we are a better company for their being here.”
*This article was featured on www.macombgov.org – PED-Department eNews. Jan28, 2016.
About AGS Automotive Systems:
AGS Automotive Systems is a world-class, Tier 1 automotive supplier specializing in the manufacture and supply of bumper system assemblies and modules. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, the company employs over 1000 employees across 10 facilities in Canada and the U.S. The company offers a full range of in-house expertise in design, engineering, innovative multi-material joining, lightweighting solutions, high-performance coatings and automated manufacturing processes in stamping, welding and assembly. From concept to production, AGS works to continuously improve and innovate to ensure it remains a leader in quality, flexibility and speed of delivery to its customers.