Success Stories

Kaiser Aluminum Corporation

Access to experienced talent and educational resources attracted Kaiser Aluminum Corporation to Kalamazoo, Michigan-enhancing the market leader's ramp up of its new extrusion facility.

Kaiser Aluminum Corporation (NASDAQ: KALU), is a leading manufacturer of semi-fabricated specialty aluminum products serving customers worldwide with highly-engineered solutions for aerospace and high-strength, general engineering, and custom automotive and industrial applications. When Kaiser Aluminum determined it would build a new state-of-the-art rod and bar extrusion facility, it assessed locations close to its customer base and with access to talent and other resources which would further enhance the Company's position as an industry leader for quality, efficiency and Best-in-Class customer satisfaction. The pool of experienced talent was a critical component to the future success of the new extrusion facility because it is the only facility of its kind in North America that brings together the most energy efficient equipment with the most up-to-date technology in process and environmental controls. This highly automated production facility incorporates the best of lean manufacturing principles and practices to process material efficiently and cleanly to maximize product quality, consistency and reliability. Strategically located in the heart of the market, Kaiser Aluminum selected Kalamazoo, Michigan as the location where it would build its new facility. Here, Kaiser found a pool of talent experienced in advanced manufacturing, access to Kalamazoo Valley Community College's Advanced Manufacturing program graduates and the ability to develop customized training specific to Kaiser's needs. The Groves Center provided Kaiser with access to training facilities and industry experts who could work with the company to develop a program and teach the specific skills required for its state-of-the-art aluminum extrusion and casting facility. Working with the training development experts at the Groves Center, Kaiser developed a three-week new-employee training program. Taught on site at the Groves, it was led by a team of industry experts and experts at Kaiser. The new-employee program was designed to establish a baseline of skills appropriate for this highly automated facility and provide employees an understanding of the aluminum industry and Kaiser's role as a leading producer in its served market segments. As the facility has continued to ramp up and grow its employee base, the new hire training has continued. To date, the Groves Center has delivered 20 three-week programs to 200+ new hires. But it's not the only training Kaiser does. Kaiser's constant pursuit of excellence through innovation requires a continuous focus on developing its employees. Kaiser provides employees with extensive training and development opportunities. It augments its Kaiser University program -job- and industry-specific internal training -with both customized and open enrollment classes at the Groves Center. Open enrollment classes are ideal for employees whose schedule will accommodate the class offering schedule. When interest or the need for specific programs reaches critical mass, Kaiser taps the experts at The Groves Center for new customized classes. The partnership between Kaiser Aluminum and the Groves Center has and continues to benefit both the company and the local business community in the Kalamazoo region.

Kathy Ankney. HR Manager, Kaiser Aluminum Fabricated Products, LLC Kalamazoo Operations - The staff at the Groves Center did an excellent job of trying to understand exactly what we were looking for in our training programs. And as our needs changed, they were very responsive. If we needed to make adjustments, they were always accommodating. It's very helpful to have a facility like the Groves Center available, and a staff that will work directly with the end-user needs of local businesses like ours for customized training. The team at the Groves Center consistently goes above and beyond what we expect in terms of service. I'm confident that they are taking care of every detail to assure that we have a successful event, every time. KVCC and the Groves Center provided us with the unique programs we needed to be successful in the region. And with access to additional training -both custom and broad-based manufacturing training -we have the resources available to ensure our employees continue to develop skills to meet our needs and culture of continuous improvement.