DETROIT — (WWJ) Auto supplier Sakthi Automotive is expanding its facilities in Southwest Detroit, bringing in work from China, while also finding a new use for an historic building.

“They are manufacturing jobs that Detroiters can be trained for and can get immediately,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “They are good paying jobs. And, we’ve saved another historic building in this city.”

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That historic building is the former Southwestern High School, which will be renovated to serve as a training center, and an aluminum foundry. The parts build there will be sent to GM and Ford plants. These are parts that had been imported from China.

“Today, I think America is probably the best place to start manufacturing, globally,” said Sakthi CEO Lalit Verma.

This is an expansion of a facility that Sakthi has been running on Fort Street. Many of the workers hired there, like Daniel Gutierrez, had been bouncing from job to job before finding a permanent position.

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“It’s a big opportunity for me. It’s the biggest opportunity I’ve ever had in my life.”

When the expansion is finished, 650 people will work on the site.

The facility will also include engineering training and even a day care facility for workers. Sakthi has also been hiring recently released prisoners. Mayor Mike Duggan says they’ve had a good deal of success with employees that other people won’t hire.

“There is no trouble with them doing a good job, showing up for work on time, because they feel their options are limited.”

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