More than 400 jobs open
Bringing employees to a multinational like Medtronic is one of the most crucial facets of its growth. In 2019, an opportunity was identified due to “business need,” CFO Anthony Ruiz said. This led to Medtronic signing an agreement with the government to carry out a series of expansions. As a result, personnel is needed to fill 35,000 feet of work area, so the company is looking for about 400 people until the end of the year.
“We are paying over $11 an hour, much more than what the market pays, to make sure we recruit the best manufacturing talent. We need a lot of labor in the area,” Ruiz said, adding that the Juncos plant has more than 2,300 employees and will have between 2,700 and 2,800 after the new hiring. That is not counting the 1,000 workers in Humacao.
“We are the patron; when we talk about the eastern region, the largest,” he said. “When people mention Amgen or other industries, they don’t compare. Amgen has around 2,500 people; we currently have around 3,500 people in this region alone, and we are going to grow.”
The social and economic impact on families and municipalities in the eastern region is significant.
“Eighty percent of our population is from the eastern region, including Cidra, [and] from there to Fajardo,” Ruiz pointed out. “It is not only the contributions to the municipalities … but also the quality of life, the businesses, the bakery, the gas station, the entire ecosystem.”
The company makes sure to train the employees it selects, which includes providing workshops.
“We have created workshops for our direct labor people, in such a way that we are not going to reject you because you don’t have a fourth year,” Ruiz said. “We recruit you, we train you and we train you for those technical tasks that are needed. In addition, we have other positions that definitely do require [a degree], such as technicians, chemists, turners, or as we call them, machining employees, practically creating a product based on specialized programs from a raw material.”
Those technical employees graduate from schools such as Mech-Tech, Polytechnic, the University of Puerto Rico and Ana G Méndez, with whom Medtronic has alliances and participates in their job fairs and activities. In addition, information is shared with professors about changes in the industry.
To prevent “brain-drain,” a major concern of business and government, Medtronic has implemented global opportunities on the island.
“I am a faithful believer along with the leadership of Medtronic in Puerto Rico, in the commitment to the country and our employees,” Ruiz said. “Although there are times when people have to leave, something that this COVID pandemic has taught us is that you don’t have to be in the United States to do a job. Medtronic in the last two years has been developing remote opportunities, where we now have a lot of people with global roles, but they are physically in Puerto Rico, so they keep contributing. That paradigm has been broken.”