Local contractor breaks down barriers to employment

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Steve Huizinga. Courtesy Allied Mechanical Services

A Grand Rapids-based mechanical contractor launched a new program to help employees by providing reliable work transportation. 

Allied Mechanical Services (AMS) announced the Employee Auto Buying Program for workers who struggle with reliable transportation.

The program will be available to employees, no matter how long they’ve worked for AMS. The company also will hire unlicensed drivers and will pay all fees associated with obtaining a driver’s license.  

“We took a step back and realized how many potentially good employees we’ve missed out on because our job applications ask if they have a valid driver’s license and a vehicle,” said Steve Huizinga, president of AMS.

“In our industry, our employees have to drive to where the work is, sometimes 30 to 40 miles from our offices. Whether you’re just starting at the company or have been here for multiple years, we want to make things more equitable for all and provide the same opportunities to those with (fewer) privileges.” 

Employees eligible for the program will be given a company-owned vehicle to use for six months, during which they will be given $3 for every hour worked, which AMS will hold in a savings account for them. Upon completion of the six months, the employee will be given access to the funds accumulated to purchase a reliable vehicle of their choosing. 

AMS serves health care, industrial, commercial, municipal and higher education industries with plumbing services, piping, HVAC, custom fabrication and preventive maintenance. 

The company also was the recipient of the 2019 Associate Builders and Contractors National Diversity Excellence Award. 

“We acknowledge that every person comes from a different socioeconomic situation,” Huizinga said, “and we hope this program will help those who want to pursue a career in construction but don’t have the means to make it feasible.” 

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