Denso announced Wednesday it will investment more than $37 million in machinery and equipment to expand automation at its Denso Manufacturing Michigan, Inc. (DMMI) manufacturing facility in Battle Creek, Mich.
Denso says the investment supports localization of component manufacturing for several customers.
The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) also awarded Denso a performance-based grant for up to $687,500 to train current and future employees preparing for higher skilled jobs. The grant will also provide funds for English as a second language (ESL) training with a manufacturing focus that DMMI will create and share with the community, the company says.
“The jobs Denso offers today are significantly different than when we started production in Battle Creek 30 years ago,” says Andris Staltmanis, DMMI President. “We are excited to make this investment to train and prepare our current and future employees for these higher-skilled, higher-paying, sustainable jobs. This is a critical step to help Denso stay competitive and we appreciate the support from the Michigan Strategic Fund.”
DMMI has created 300 Lead Associate positions, a new, skills-based production job designed to support their next generation product manufacturing. MSF funding, combined with a $125,000 training and relocation incentive from Battle Creek Unlimited, will support both on-site training classes and formal instruction at Kellogg Community College. Lead Associates receive more than 130 hours of formal instruction in addition to extensive on-the-job training.
“In addition to Lead Associate training, DMMI is excited to develop and share ESL training designed for manufacturing careers,” Staltmanis says. “Helping our ESL employees be more successful on the job will open pathways for them to move up in the company and realize their potential.”
Manufacturing-focused ESL curriculum also will benefit the community through partnerships with local cultural and educational institutions who will be invited to use and adapt the materials, the company says.
“A more educated community reaps benefits beyond where the employee works,” Staltmanis says. “Denso is the largest manufacturing operation in Battle Creek, but our partners in the Fort Custer Industrial Park and other areas will also be able to access this specialized information to benefit their workforce and the broader community.”
DMMI is planning to hire 125 employees as a part of the investment and training initiative.