KOKOMO, Ind. – The General Motors plant in Kokomo is still hard at work producing ventilators to help hospitals in the fight against COVID-19 in the U.S.
With a staff of about 700 people, GM is hiring 300 hundred more to help in the production.
Employees need to build and ship 30,000 ventilators by the end of August as part of its contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Kokomo Plant manager Liz Gutierrez tells us GM wants to hire those 300 people to work third shift at the plant, and there are few skills they would like these people to have.
“Dexterity matters. So, they do some testing when we bring them in to understand if they can do small parts,” explained Gutierrez. “Eyesight matters but only in the sense that it has to be correctable for you to see small parts. So, some of them use magnifying glasses and stuff to see the small parts.”
Gutierrez mentioned computers skills are a really good skill to have in this position.
“Most of the younger people coming in from the workforce are all very versed on everything that happens on a phone, and most of that works right into the systems,” she said. “But everything is almost all on the computer, it walks them through their standardized work and how they do the processes.”
Gutierrez says anybody can do the job if they’re willing to, but there is a lot of moving around along with steps at the plant, so that is something she wants applicants to keep in mind.
The plant in Kokomo ships around 96 ventilators a day, sometimes more than that. As of early June, the plant has shipped close to 3,000 ventilators across the country. But, Gutierrez tells us, there have been some obstacles.
“The biggest challenge is the increased in schedule so quickly that the suppliers are doing everything they can to ensure they can get parts to us, but a lot of these parts come from different countries and they have get through all of their tests and areas,” she explained. “As COVID has hit many different countries, a lot of your suppliers have times when they’ve been shut down to clean and do other things to try to keep that pipeline running.”
Ventec and General Motors have worked together to make sure the staff in Kokomo has all the equipment they need. The plant is still on schedule to meet their goal of producing 30,000 of the life-saving machines by the end of August.
The plant is also keeping their staff safe by following COVID-19 protocols put in place by the CDC. The staff wear masks throughout the day and are given new ones each day. They also sanitize throughout the day, along with a temperature scan of each employee to make sure they are keeping everyone healthy.
Anyone interested in applying can visit GM’s website.