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Plainfield business uses technology to break language barriers and bridge job gaps

Hiring Hoosiers — Removing Barriers
Posted: 12:00 PM, Nov 13, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-13 12:23:12-05
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PLAINFIELD — Hiring Hoosiers is aimed at opening doors to employment that can also provide new skills to enhance your career. That is the goal of the international company, Geodis, where they use technology to bridge the language gap for some Hoosiers.

Geodis runs like a well-oiled machine. With 2,200 employees between it's 11 Plainfield warehouses, items from big retail companies are ordered, stocked, and shipped by employees and robots working together.

"I need the job, and I like it," says Ca Nhem, a scanner at Geodis. She process orders that have been picked off the shelves and prepares them for shipping.

Geodis is an entry-level employment option for people of all backgrounds. Inside this building, employees are from two dozen different cultures. Nhem is from Burma, and she has been with Geodis for two years. This is her first job since moving to the United States ten years ago.

"Sometimes I no understand, and my brain [thinks], 'Oh, what was the thing to understand,' and my heart goes [crazy]," explains Nhem.

A mother of four, Nhem did not speak any English when she came to Geodis, but the company hires regardless of one's language level. Once hired, employees like Nhem can participate in English classes offered with Luna Language Services right in their workplace.

"They have English class and Luna [Language Service], and it is very important for [me] to understand," says Nhem.

Geodis is breaking down language barriers through the use of robots. For example, a Spanish speaking employee will have a personal identifying badge, so when employees approach a robot on the warehouse floor, the robot's language will switch to Spanish.

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Geodis is breaking down language barriers through the use of robots. For example, a Spanish speaking employee will have a personal identifying badge so when that employees approaches a robot on the warehouse floor, the robot's language will switch to Spanish.

"[Nhem] can set her risk scanner to her language so she can read the product scanning in her language," explains Candace Reim, the Regional Human Resources Manager at Geodis.

A vast majority, about 65% of Geodis employees, are non-English speaking. Reim says that is why this technology is programmed to help workers succeed and helps Geodis keep a full staff.

"We can take your application in multiple languages, we can process interviews and even hires in multiple languages," says Reim.

Because, when people are employed and working, the whole community thrives.

"When Geodis saw that the employment rate was dipping really low, you have to get creative, and you have to engage with all communities in the area so that everybody can be employed," explains Reim.

Geodis is continuously hiring, according to Reim. They average about 200 open entry-level positions on the campus at any time. Reim also says Geodis' hiring peaks around the holiday season with up to 500 openings. The company offers full-time, part-time, and season work, as well as a new program called "Flex" that offers employees work on an as-needed basis.

Click here to apply for a job at Geodis.