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Lear Corp of Farwell Receives Impact Award

Lawmakers Celebrate Local Talent, Career Development Efforts in Northeastern Michigan

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LANSING, MI (March 31, 2021)— Northeastern Michigan talent development and employment successes were among those celebrated by state leaders at the Michigan Works! Association Impact Awards this week.

            Local lawmakers and statewide talent development officials gathered virtually on Wednesday, March 31 to recognize Lear Corporation – Farwell Plant and the Michigan Works! Region 7B Consortium for adapting to meet the professional and personal needs of employees.

            In March 2019, Business Solutions Professional Pam O’Laughlin met with the entire management team at Lear Corporation – Farwell to address a 98 percent turnover rate of production employees.  At this meeting, the team identified areas of concern.  To address the issues identified, Lear Corporation implemented new practices and procedures.  As a result, the hiring process was revised to include additional screening and testing criteria, a more intensive week-long orientation was developed, and the company made leadership training for floor leads a priority.  

Additionally, Lear Corporation – Farwell was the first employer in the Michigan Works! Region 7B area to implement The Network -- a business resource program.  This program brought a Success Coach into the plant each week to assist employees.  The Success Coach was able to assist Lear Corporation employees by identifying barriers, providing resources, coordinating with HR staff to offer training solutions and mitigation, and, overall, reducing turnover.

             “Working with Pam O’Laughlin and her knowledgeable team has been a great experience that has helped to make our plant a better place to work,” said Lear Corporation – Farwell Human Resources Manager Lisa Fredrickson. “Working with Vicky Stickler in the Business Resource Network program is an excellent tool that has made our ability to meet the needs of our workforce more comprehensive than ever before.  That is why it has been an easy choice for us to utilize Michigan Works! Region 7B.  We look forward to continuing to work with Pam and Vicky through Michigan Works! Region 7B and the Middle Michigan Development Corporation far into the future.”

            In October 2019, a primary customer of Lear Corporation went on strike, causing a massive lay off at the Lear Corporation – Farwell plant.  Management carefully and thoughtfully structured a layoff plan to enable employees to keep their health insurance coverage active by reporting to work for four hours each week.  This also made it possible for employees to continue to be eligible for unemployment insurance while on the reduced work schedule.  As a result of these actions, Lear did not lose a single employee.

Lear Corporation has continued to tackle any challenges that arise.  When the pandemic brought on another layoff for Lear, management worked remotely to provide support for their employees and assistance with help from Michigan Works! Region 7B and the Network.

When all three shifts were able to return to work, safety protocols were significantly enhanced at the plant and management staff worked to find solutions for any challenges that arose, including changes to attendance to improve the work/life balance of their employees.  These changes have made a significant difference in employee morale and the employee turnover.

To address the 98 percent turnover rate, management at Lear Corporation – Farwell took the necessary actions needed to improve their company morale while reducing the turnover rate.

“It’s exciting to see how the Business Resource Network program is supporting the growth of talent in our region,” said state Sen. Rick Outman (R-Six Lakes). “Kudos to Lear Corporation for implementing this important program so they could effectively address their turnover rate.”

The Impact Awards hosted by the Michigan Works! Association recognizes the economic development success being achieved in communities across Michigan. During the event, local lawmakers present tributes to dozens of honorees from across the state. 

Award winners included employers, workers, Michigan Works! organizations, and partners from across the state.

“I am pleased to see community partners collaborating to preserve economic prosperity in our region and excited to have this award in my hometown of Farwell,” said state Rep. Jason Wentworth (R-Farwell). “The daily effort Michigan Works! Region 7B puts into coordinating with local employers and other partners makes all the difference in talent development and retention in this area.”

The Michigan Works! Association is a non-profit membership organization that provides services and support to Michigan’s talent eco-system. For over 30 years, the Association has been the go-to resource for federal, state and local workforce initiatives.

The Association’s work ensures top-quality services and support for Michigan’s talent pipeline. For more information, please visit michiganworks.org.

Find the nearest Michigan Works! American Job Center by visiting https://www.michiganworks.org/michigan-works-network or by calling (1-800) 285-WORKS (9675).

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