US:Ford rolls out career advice
Ford rolls out career advice
As workers decide whether to take buyout, automaker plans to hold workshops, job fairs.
Bryce G. Hoffman / The Detroit News
Ford will offer counseling workshops at every plant and a career fair at most to help workers who take buyouts prepare for a job hunt, open their own business or go back to school. The schedule:
Rawsonville (Ypsilanti Twp.)
Oct. 11: Counseling workshop
Nov. 9: Career fair
AutoAlliance (Flat Rock)
Oct. 12: Counseling workshop
Nov. 16: Career fair
Michigan Truck Plant
Oct. 17: Counseling workshop
Oct. 19: Career fair
Dearborn Engine Plant
Oct. 18: Counseling workshop
Nov. 8: Career fair
Wixom Assembly PlantOct. 19: Counseling workshop
Oct. 26: Career fair
Dearborn Truck Plant
Oct. 19: Counseling workshop
Oct. 23: Career fair
Dearborn Tool & Die
Oct. 23: Counseling workshop
Oct. 30: Career fair
Livonia Transmission Plant
Oct. 24: Counseling workshop
Nov. 2: Career fair
Sterling Plant (Sterling Heights)
Oct. 30: Counseling workshop
Van Dyke Transmission Plant (Sterling Heights)
Nov. 1: Counseling workshop
Woodhaven Stamping Plant
Nov. 2: Counseling workshop
Wayne Stamping and Assembly Plant
Nov. 8: Counseling workshop
Nov. 20: Career fair
Ford Motor Co. will offer educational workshops and career fairs at its U.S. factories beginning today to encourage hourly workers to sign up for the buyouts Ford is offering to help eliminate some 30,000 blue-collar jobs by 2008.
The window for accepting a buyout opens Monday, and workers have until Nov. 27 to make a decision. Ford is offering eight buyout packages under a deal with the United Auto Workers.
Ford is cutting jobs and closing factories as part of a massive restructuring to slash $5 billion in operational expenses from its unprofitable North American automotive business.
The buyout offers range from $140,000 in cash to a four-year educational scholarship. The details of each package have been explained to workers by the company and the UAW. Now, workers have to make one of the most important decisions of their lives.
"We've put what we think is a very generous offer on the table," Marty Mulloy, Ford's vice president of labor affairs said in an interview Monday. "We want to make sure each employee has the best information available to make that decision."
The career events are designed to help workers understand their options and figure out what to do next.
Organized by Ford and the UAW, with support from various state and local agencies, they will be held at all of Ford's U.S. factories during the next several weeks.
Gary Calcaterra, who works at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant, has already made up his mind.
"Me and my family talked about it," he said. "I might as well just stick it out."
Calcaterra is 38 and coming up on 10 years at Ford. With a mortgage and a family to think about, he is not willing to give up a high-paying job with full benefits for an uncertain future. He thinks he has enough seniority to relocate to another Ford facility if Chicago is added to the list of 16 Ford factories slated to be shuttered by 2012.
Brian Pannebecker, 47, is in the same boat. He has been working at Ford's Sterling Plant in Sterling Heights for a decade.
"Guys like me, we're kind of stuck in the middle," Pannebecker said. "We're married, we've got kids and we've got houses with mortgages. We've got to ride the storm out."
But he said there are plenty of other workers at his plant who are ready to take a buyout.
Some older workers who are already eligible for retirement were just waiting for that extra nudge to get them out the door. Pannebecker thinks the $35,000 incentive to retire now ought to do it for many of them.
There are also younger workers who still have time to choose a different career. Pannebecker said many of them are thinking seriously about one of the two educational packages available that pay tuition and a monthly stipend for living expenses.
"They're young enough to still change directions if they get out now and finish college," he said.
The first educational workshop is today at Ford's Norfolk Assembly Plant in Virginia. Norfolk makes the Ford F-150 pickup. So do two other Ford plants, and the automaker has already announced plans to idle Norfolk by the end of 2008.
Some workshop sessions will be geared to workers who are planning to find a new job. They will be offered career counseling, as well as tips on resume preparation and interview skills.
Many of the workers who have taken advantage of Ford's previous buyout offers have used their cash to go into business for themselves, Mulloy said.
One worker became a karate instructor. Another opened a guitar shop. And Little Caesars pizza franchises have been a surprisingly popular choice.
To help such employees get started, the workshops will offer a crash course in small business management, advice for those considering purchasing a franchise and sessions to outline the resources available from state and local authorities to help entrepreneurs get started.
"It's really Business 101," Mulloy said. "We're really keen on those employees getting the right kind of business training."
For workers considering one of Ford's educational opportunity programs, the automaker is offering guidance counseling and self-assessment sessions to help them decide on a career path.
"We have one employee at Ohio Assembly who is going to Harvard now," Mulloy said. "We work very, very proactively to link each person up with the right resource."
Some employees just want to transfer to other Ford facilities, and Mulloy said the company will have people on hand to help those workers, too.
The career fair, which will be held at most plants, is designed to put workers in touch with prospective employers.
There will also be booths staffed by representative from local colleges and universities, as well as technical training schools. And companies with franchise opportunities will be on hand to talk to workers.
Similar programs have been offered at other Ford plants that are slated to be idled by the end of the year.
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....