Workers from Easterseals Arc’s Projects Drive Group helped put General Motors pickup trucks on the road.
On most weekdays for more than five years, a crew of consumers from Easterseals Arc rode about 45 minutes from Fort Wayne to the Multimatic plant near Butler. There they worked a four-hour shift assembling brackets that would become part of the framework for instrument panels in full-size GM pickups.
A product change by GM led to the end of the work. While it lasted, Easterseals Arc consumers worked hard and enjoyed it.
“It keeps me busy. I’m around a bunch of really nice people,” said Easterseals Arc consumer Franklin.
“I like making the money,” said consumer Jodi. “I like doing different parts, the big parts and the little parts.”
“It’s pretty fun,” said David, an Easterseals Arc consumer who also has worked at Walmart and with an Amish construction crew in the past. “I try to make people laugh. I always come here in a happy mood.”
“There are nice friends over here,” consumer Tim said during lunch at Multimatic. “And a nice boss,” he added, looking toward Easterseals Arc staff member Andrea Williams.
Since the fall of 2013, Williams supervised, trained and pitched in with the crew she drove to Butler. Each day at the factory, she kept the parts flowing into the assembly area used by the crew she supervised. She also loaded plastic pallets with crates full of assembled brackets, recorded inventory and helped all the PDG workers stay safe as they made their way through the factory.
“They fit in great. Everybody loves them here,” said Tracey Jones, a materials analyst at Multimatic.
As other workers passed nearby, they called out greetings and waved. In the big lunch room in the factory, other Multimatic workers knew PDG workers’ names and stopped to chat.
The team of workers performed important work for Multimatic, and employing them was a way for Multimatic to contribute to northeast Indiana, too.
“It’s a community service that we’re able to do,” Jones said.
The men and women from Easterseals Arc typically began work at 9:30 a.m. and ended at 1:30 p.m., with a half-hour lunch break in the middle. The employees had to be physically fit enough to stand for more than two hours at a time. They also needed to be nimble, with enough dexterity to manipulate clips about the size of a blueberry that they used in assembling two different types of brackets. Other employees at Multimatic then used those brackets to form part of a framework for the instrument panels in GM trucks assembled in Fort Wayne and Flint, Mich.
The brackets that Easterseals Arc consumers clipped together aren’t a part of the next generation of General Motors trucks, which led to the jobs they did at Multimatic winding down in early May.
The consumers performed well and gained a lot of skills and experience while at Multimatic, and the Projects Drive Group and employment services teams at Easterseals Arc are helping them find new jobs.