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Mich. plant could indicate what to expect

WARREN — Although the LG Chem battery plant in Holland, Mich., is not a joint venture with General Motors as the new plant planned for the Mahoning Valley will be, a look at it may offer some insight into what type of work and opportunities could be available in the coming years.

A website for LG Chem Michigan Inc. doesn’t beat around the bush: It needs employees.

According to news reports and online job advertisements, the company employs about 850 people and is constantly looking for more. The company has three job fairs planned for December alone.

That website seems mostly, if not completely, dedicated to employee recruitment in an area of Michigan known for a low unemployment rate and a high volume of manufacturing companies.

The site shows apparent employees working in a high tech, lab-like setting, wearing coveralls and lab coats, beard nets and hair nets as robotic arms pan and gloved hands tap equipment.

The site asks potential job applicants to “Be a part of the future” and to “Recharge your future” with a “challenging and rewarding career.”

In February, the Holland Sentinel reported LG Chem offers the employees in the competitive labor market benefits such as a subsidized cafeteria, a wellness program that includes a workout facility and tuition reimbursement of up to $20,000 per year.

Nick Kassanos, president of LG Chem Michigan in February, told the newspaper the company is looking for people who want a career, not just a job.

The Holland plant now is seeking to fill 60 positions, according to the website. They are offering $16 per hour for technical operators and $18 to $23 per hour for senior manufacturing technicians.

If the wages at the Holland plant are an indication of what employees at the future plant in the Mahoning Valley could make, they will be about half as much as GM paid its workforce at the closed Lordstown assembly plant.

The South Korean company makes batteries for the Chevy Bolt.

The Holland plant is not unionized.