This year we have seen one Presidential nominee, Bernie Sanders, suggest free college education while another, Donald Trump, denigrated a Prisoner-of-War saying he was not a war hero. Toyota is taking a different stance; they are hiring all the retired military they can and helping defray the cost of college to students that want to intern at their San Antonio, Texas manufacturing plant.
Dave Crouch, Vice President, Administration Production Control Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas (TMMTX), laments that finding multi-skilled electricians has been difficult, “We used to hire from all over the country. What we found is that, after a couple of years, the workers would go back to the State they were from instead of settling down in Texas. We decided to take an interest in our citizens.”
Part of the Toyota Global Vision is to create families of workers; from August to November 2008 during the economic freefall in the United States Toyota shut down production in their San Antonio manufacturing plant, but they didn’t fire a single person. Instead, they ran training classes and on Fridays, each employee went into the city and worked on a civic community project.
The same thing happened in 2011 when Japan experienced a great earthquake. The San Antonio plant dropped to three days of manufacturing with employees using the extra two days of non-work to do civic community work.
Toyota is bringing their Kaizen philosophy to San Antonio; the philosophy of continuous improvement in business and personal efficiency. The San Antonio, TX manufacturing plant has about the same make-up of cultures as the city does. Toyota is working on getting more women in the facility.
Toyota is thriving, as are truck sales. The Tundra and Tacoma are built and assembled at the San Antonio plant. Toyota can’t make enough trucks; the Tundra is 13.6 days on a dealer’s lot, the Tacoma is 9.7 days on a dealer’s lot. Toyota is looking for a few good men and women.
Because of the military facilities near San Antonio, TX, there are many retired military; such as retired USAF Staff Sergeant Duane Bryant, now employed by Toyota as a body welder. High school graduates can become interns and go to community college. Toyota estimates it will spend $32,000 over two years for the program. There is no agreement that you have to work for Toyota, but what a coup that would be to have on your resume.
Unlike Sanders wanting to pay for anyone to go to college at the taxpayer’s expense, Toyota has one motivating factor; the person has to have an organic motivation, “we can teach the technical aspect, but we can’t teach motivation.”
Toyota is working with the colleges and military groups surrounding the San Antonio, Texas area to find people to work in the Toyota Manufacturing Plant.
If you do work with Toyota at the San Antonio plant you will be required to work the Alternative Work Schedule (AWS); two weeks on day shift then you rotate to two weeks on the night shift. All employees get Sunday off. The plant is at full capacity now, and they need more employees. Personally, I loved the paint shop.
It’s reassuring to hear that some of our private companies are already respecting our military and providing financial help and jobs to young people that are motivated.