Making a difference for America’s auto workers and their communities

by Secretary Hilda Solis on July 7, 2011 · 8 comments

When I became Labor Secretary two and a half years ago, our economy was in a free fall. The financial system was on the verge of meltdown. Entire industries were being threatened and two of the “Big 3” automotive makers were on the verge of bankruptcy. Middle class workers didn’t know whether they were going to get a paycheck or a pink slip.

President Obama chose to put faith in American business and he bet big on the American auto industry. Since then, a million auto jobs have been saved, the auto industry has created 115,000 new jobs since GM and Chrysler restructured, and all of the “Big 3” gained market share for the first time in 16 years.

Our efforts helped many auto plants stay open. But GM and Chrysler still had to make tough decisions to close or idle plants. When these plants shut their doors, it affected so much more than just the workers at the facility. It also impacted suppliers, local businesses, and the surrounding community.

So in March of 2009, President Obama created the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers to help hard-hit communities access the government resources and services that would help them recover and thrive.

Secretary Solis meets with workers at Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy -- one of the fastest growing healthcare companies in the U.S. -- where former auto workers in a space once devoted to auto manufacturing are now manufacturing medicine and coordinating healthcare.

Yesterday, I had the chance to visit one of these communities in Flint, Michigan. What I saw was an incredible story of transformation and rebirth, and of what can happen when we put faith in American business and American workers.

I saw it at the Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy — one of the fastest growing healthcare companies in the U.S. – where former auto workers in a space once devoted to auto manufacturing are now manufacturing medicine and coordinating healthcare. 

I saw it at Blackstone’s Pub & Grill – a Flint diner that has created jobs and is a community hub.

And I saw it at the Flint-Genesee Job Corps Center, where displaced auto-workers and their children are getting a second chance and a fresh start.

Our efforts are making a difference for America’s auto workers and the communities they call home. The President knows that, and while I was in Flint I had the privilege of announcing the person he picked to lead this effort as Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers – Jay Williams.

Secretary Solis congratulates Mayor Jay Willimas after announcing his appointment as Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers.

Williams has served as Mayor of Youngstown, Ohio since 2006. He is the youngest and first African American Mayor in the city’s history and is committed to transforming and reshaping communities.

I’m proud of the progress we’ve made already, but we still have so much more we can and we will do for America’s auto communities with Williams’ help on our DOL team.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carikyn Boggess July 8, 2011 at 11:06 am

So good to read of something positive happening in our society. Keep up the good works and be sure to publicize your results.

2 Telephone Answering Service July 14, 2011 at 1:30 am

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3 buy here pay here guy12 November 21, 2011 at 7:14 pm

I really like hearing of blogs like this. It is GREAT to see someone giving back and attempting to make a difference and reshape their communities as stated in your article.

4 House Alarms December 30, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Flint is shining brightly.
The auto industry fuels so many ancillary jobs, it is almost unreplaceable.
Keep up the great work!

5 wedding hall January 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I guess we have to the for being so creative and convincing.

6 Thomas January 12, 2012 at 2:33 pm

American auto industry used to be among the strongest ones, if not the strongest one. My father is a second-generation GM worker and the collapse hit him severely. I hope the situation will even out and auto-workers will get a second chance, it’s really hard to start from scratch in a new area when you are well over 40. I really appreciate all the efforts in this direction.

7 düğün salonu March 26, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Keep up the good works and be sure to publicize your results.

8 düğün salonu March 29, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I really like hearing of blogs like this.

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