Preparing for Fuyao

 Preparing for Fuyao

A global automotive supplier brings a much-needed boost to workforce development

A major global automotive supplier is coming to Dayton and will breathe new life into the former General Motors (GM) assembly plant, reaffirming Ohio’s dominance in the automotive industry.

In January of this year, Gov. John R. Kasich announced that a major global automotive supplier, Fuyao Glass Industry Group Co. Ltd., would build its first North American automotive glass manufacturing facility in Moraine, a $200 million investment, creating approximately 800 new jobs over the next three years.

It’s a win for Ohio, but even more importantly, this new company will have a positive impact on the local community from many perspectives.

“Not only are we glad that Fuyao selected this Montgomery County location, but this is going to help bolster a community that has been hit hard by the loss of GM and other companies,” says David Burrows, vice president of development for the Dayton Development Coalition. “We believe that this organization will help revitalize the community, from the 800 people they will hire to the cascading effect of the investment to local businesses. Many people and organizations are working together to make this a success.”

Dayton Teamwork Strikes Again

Effective collaboration has been the key from the beginning. The city of Moraine, The Job Center and the Dayton Coalition worked in conjunction with the State of Ohio to bring Fuyao to the area.

“The new JobsOhio structure that Gov. Kasich put into place recently to privatize development work on projects like these opened the door to proceed at the speed of business without the bureaucracy of the government,” says Burrows. “Once we knew Fuyao was interested in this property, we were able to put preliminary packages together in a week which would have normally taken several weeks or even months to put together.”

This fast response definitely put Ohio at the top of the prospect list in 2013. According to Burrows, the GM plant made the list of locations to visit even though Fuyao was originally looking for a green field where they could build a new facility. Once Fuyao saw the existing plant, they realized that they could save money by using many of the building and site attributes that were already in place, and they also liked the surrounding community.

Fuyao has a rich history of giving and Burrows believes it will be an outstanding community citizen.

“Fuyao Chairman and Founder Cao Dewang is one of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs and has been named China’s most generous philanthropist four times by China’s Hurun Report,” says Burrows. “It is important for people to understand what the impact of being a good corporate citizen could have on our community. Bringing a company and leadership like Fuyao into the community makes this an especially successful endeavor.”

The top people at Fuyao are fantastic,says Burrows. “They are very smart and respectful business leaders who are mindful that this was a shuttered facility that hurt the community when it closed. They are excited to be a good corporate citizen who can now help a lot of those same people,” he says.

Ready for Action

Moraine stands to benefit most from the company establishing its headquarters within the city limits. However, according to Michael Davis, Moraine’s economic development director, this will also be a boost to Dayton’s overall manufacturing heritage.

“While we are excited about this opportunity, this is also a victory for manufacturing companies throughout our region. This is a new facility with new technology and Fuyao will be able to pull from a broad geographic area to meet its hiring needs,” says Davis. “I believe that businesses throughout the region will pick up steam as a result of this contract. It’s an exciting time to watch manufacturing grow again.”

Fuyao is expected to hire roughly 800 workers, which will be a boost to the local workforce. According to Deb Norris, vice president of Workforce Development and Corporate Services for Sinclair Community College, the Dayton area is well-positioned to fill these jobs now and to keep the pipeline full for future opportunities.

“A company’s largest investment today should be in human capital,” says Norris. “In the past five to seven years, employee talent and investment [have] taken on a greater importance because there is more of a demand for increased skills due to technology.”

There are fewer jobs in manufacturing in the current economy, and the new jobs being created require a higher skill level. The manufacturers who are going to succeed must have access to employees who have learned that by investing in themselves through education and training, they are investing in their own future success.

”Manufacturing is still the number one job provider in the Dayton region, even though many production jobs have been outsourced to Mexico or overseas,” adds Norris. “Today, companies have to innovate to determine how they can produce more, and often that comes from quality management and process improvement.”

Norris believes that Dayton has a wonderful opportunity to transform itself by relying on its strong heritage of innovation to continually provide the talent pool and human capital that Fuyao and other businesses need to build the products and services they offer.

“This is a complex issue, but in Dayton, we believe workforce development is a team sport,” she says. She also adds that the area is very fortunate to have many resources that come together often to determine the best ways to offer programs and find solutions that assist in aligning overall workforce needs in our region.

“If the employer is engaged and willing to work with us, we can identify the education, skills and training required for today’s workforce and make that happen,” says Norris. “And that means we all succeed.”