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Career Connections: Auto Factory Worker

6 minutes

(Describer) Beside four different-size different-color circles connected by lines, title: Career Connections. Under a world map with dots in various locations, title: World Languages.

(Describer) Title: Factory Worker.

For a century, automobile manufacturing has been an essential aspect of Ohio's economy, employing thousands upon thousands of workers. While some assembly line work has been replaced by automation, workers still install everything from back brakes to back seats. Sherry Gaunt makes her living in auto manufacturing. She and her coworkers work regular shifts at an auto assembly plant in Northern Ohio. I'm a material handler. What I do, I move materials, raw metals, from a staging point out to the line, then bring the empties back, have them refilled, and bring them back to the line.

(narrator) For every manufactured product, there's a specific kind of factory, from basic steelmaking to final product assembly.

(Gaunt) We're a metal fab plant. We press metals. Now that we have the body sides-- the B-side they call it-- we build the shell, the metal part of the car. That's the assembly part, which is the B-side. The B-side is the assembly part, which continues over to our sister plant that dresses the whole car out.

(narrator) In nearly every modern factory, the work is divided among diverse team members. There's 12 different jobs. I do different jobs. I can be on the fork truck loading parts, I could be driving parts in and bringing the empties back, or I could be a satellite on a monitor. That's where the operator, when they need those parts, they push a button that comes up on your monitor, and you take the empty out and push in the full parts.

(narrator) Each team member's workflow keeps the inventory in place to keep the assembly line running.

(Gaunt) There's parts that, if you're not there in time, will halt production. Other parts will not affect it right away.

(Describer) A woman works on a car door.

You know how to put those jobs back so people can help you 'cause you're a team.

(narrator) As a team, each member needs to understand what other members are doing.

(Gaunt) The biggest part is being able to communicate and get along with others. You got to work with others and have that respect part where everyone's different. Not everybody's nice every day. You don't take things personally. Bring a positive attitude. With teamwork, you want to help each other. Sometimes I might not be fast or have something hurting. My shoulder, my leg. Are you the type that helps out? It's important you have their back 'cause you're in a physical field. You want to sleep, eat right, take care of yourself. To get the best out of it is to be able to communicate and be a team player. Like nearly everywhere else in modern society, factory team members must know the latest technology. You need to be able to go to the Net and make sure that you can educate yourself. There's things that you can't do by hearsay. You got to research. It's very important. Computers are real important. We use them every day. The language of the factory must be learned by everyone. The languages are numbers with us. It may describe parts briefly, but it'll be cut out. It's not a full word. It won't say "metal." So you get to know the numbers. And when you read the part, you'll say, "Okay, that goes there." They give you the dolly that the part is on and the location. We do locations by what they call column numbers, column locations. But for those learning, they have all those parts on that monitor,

(Describer) A man and woman work on a car body.

so you know where to get the part and take it to. Manifests are on the side of the car. So if I'm putting on lights, I have to read that manifest to know which one I'm picking up to dress that car. You have to put the right part 'cause every car is not the same. How should you prepare yourself for this kind of work? They need a high school diploma or GED. Factory work is fast-paced and often financially rewarding. I like being mobile inside the plant. I get to speak to everybody, see everybody. I'm working in different places all the time. I have wheels. I have transportation. I love that part. There's always changes because General Motors keeps competitive

(Describer) A finished car drives off the line.

and we need jobs.

Funding to purchase and make this educational production

(Describer) Titles: For more information, visit OhioMeansJobs.com. Western Reserve Public Media. Copyright 2014. Funding to purchase and make this educational program accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education. Contact the Department of Education by telephone at 1-800-USA-LEARN, or online at www.ed.gov.

accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education:

PH: 1-800-USA-LEARN (V) or WEB: www.ed.gov.

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The automobile manufacturing industry has three fields in which a student can specialize: performing the actual assembly of a vehicle, putting together its exterior shell and interior frame, and painting and sealing the body. Find out the requirements for each area as assembly-line workers discuss the specifics of each field. Part of the "Career Connections" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 6 minutes

Career Connections
Episode 1
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 2
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 3
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 4
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 5
5 minutes
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Episode 6
4 minutes
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Episode 7
7 minutes
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Episode 8
7 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 9
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 10
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12