Dow Chemical launches online job portal amid cuts

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

Midland — Less than a month after Dow Chemical Co. said it would cut 700 jobs from its Midland workforce following the acquisition of Dow Corning Corp., the company established a program to help those affected by the cuts find new jobs.

Dow Chemical partnered with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to build a state-wide job portal announced Monday “to help offset the impacts from (the) restructuring.”

The online portal has 450 jobs posted from 145 Michigan employers.

Those affected by the job cuts are given log-in details when they’re notified of termination, according to the release. The portal launched July 11, less than two weeks after the company announced it planned to cut 11 percent of its Midland positions.

Dow Corning and Dow Chemical employ about 6,400 people in Midland.

“We are very pleased with the response to this online talent matching resource,” said Rich Wells, vice president of Dow’s Michigan Operations. “It is a true testament to the strength of our business community, and the commitment shown by the State of Michigan, to retain these highly skilled talents here in the Great Lakes Bay Region and across the state.”

Rachelle Schikorra, spokeswoman for Dow Chemical, said jobs will be eliminated over a two-year period that started June 1.

“Employees impacted by these measures are being notified as soon as practicable, with the intention for all employees to know their status by the end of third quarter 2016 or per local jurisdictions,” she said.

The job portal is the first of its kind, according to Steve Arwood, chief executive officer of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

“(The portal) shows the power of the State, the local Economic Development Corporations and the company coming together to help affected employees while strengthening our workforce and talent retention efforts throughout the State of Michigan,” he said in a release.

The portal is free to affected employees and employers. Economic development corporations in Midland, Saginaw and the Great Lakes Basin Region are also partners on the portal.

Besides the online program, the state of Michigan also has job fairs planned in August in September. The first, the Michigan Virtual Career Fair, will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 10.

On Sept. 16, The Dow Entrepreneurship Institute will host the Great Lakes Bay Region Entrepreneurship Fair at Saginaw Valley State University.

Dow Chemical Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris said the firings are “difficult but necessary actions.” He added in a June statement that, “we are bringing together the best of each company’s talent and technology, accelerating Dow’s strategy to go narrower and deeper into attractive, targeted market sectors, and setting the stage for the new Dow — the world’s leading material science company.”

The company has said it hopes to minimize the number of layoffs by diverting affected Dow and Dow Corning employees into open positions created when the firm slowed its outside hiring in January. It also plans to hold hiring sessions in Midland so laid-off workers can apply for open positions in Dow’s U.S. Gulf Coast Manufacturing and Engineering operations.

Globally, Dow plans to cut 2,500 jobs as a result of the Corning acquisition.

All Dow Chemical or Dow Corning facilities will remain open in Michigan, the company said, “ while the company will continue to rationalize its oldest and idled locations from the combined facilities footprint.” The company still plans to continue building its new corporate headquarters with a scheduled opening at the end of 2017.

Dow Chemical has seen big changes in the first half of 2016. Last week, shareholders for Dow Chemical and Delaware-based DuPont last week approved the $130 billion merger of the two companies, which will form the second-largest chemicals company in the world.


Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau