Jobs and economic development are a sensitive issue in Detroit, especially in light of a recent HBO documentary which examined the countless broken promises surrounding Little Caesars Arena and District Detroit.
Given this, it’s not surprisingly that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is facing a lot of scrutiny over its $1.6 billion (£1.2 / €1.4) plan to convert the Mack Avenue Engine Complex into an all-new production facility which will build the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee and a new three-row model. The company is also investing $900 (£697 / €808) million to retool and modernize the Jefferson North Assembly Plant which is also located in the Motor City.
FCA has previously said the investments will create approximately 4,950 new jobs. Who gets those jobs is a contentious issue, but the company has said they would “initiate recruiting efforts targeted at Detroit residents” especially those who live near the plants.
The company is now making good on that promise as Crain’s Detroit reports the FCA will give Detroiters priority when it comes to hiring. In particular, residents of the city will be able to apply for jobs ahead of the general public.
FCA will also invest $13.8 (£10.7 / €12.4) million to help the community. Crain’s says a bulk of the money – $5.8 (£4.5 / €5.2) million – will go to workplace development, while $5 (£3.9 / €4.5) million will go towards education programs. Speaking of the later, FCA will partner with the Wayne County Community College District to create a co-op program where students work at the plant for two days a week and attend school the other three days.
While FCA is investing a significant amount of money into the community, the city and state will be spending even more – $21.4 (£16.6 / €19.2) million. A little more than a quarter of that will go towards demolishing 300 abandoned and blighted houses near the plants.