2022-03-04 08:00Blog post

Life in Two Languages at Gentex

Sometimes in life, the only way to get to the destination is by traveling a road full of twists and turns. Sarah Luciano understands this firsthand—her 23-year career at Gentex started because of a series of unexpected events. 

In 1998, Sarah was living in Kansas with her husband, Zeferino, and two children (they’ve since welcomed a third child into their family). Zeferino worked at a factory that employed most of the people who lived in the area. A fire shut down the business, and he lost his job. With the largest employer in town out of business, the local job market collapsed. When Zeferino’s cousins mentioned there was work available in Michigan, they packed up the family and moved to the Mitten State. 

“My husband’s family told me if they offered me a job at Gentex, to take it, because they heard Gentex was a good company to work for,” said Sarah. 

At the local Manpower office, Sarah was offered a choice between taking a job at Magna or at Gentex. “My husband’s family told me if they offered me a job at Gentex, to take it, because they heard Gentex was a good company to work for,” said Sarah. 

What started as a temporary contract position quickly turned into a longer-term engagement. After three months, Sarah was offered a full-time position—and took it.  

“I really did not know what to expect when I started here,” she said. “I thought it was a good place to get some experience, but I was not planning on staying long. I thought the work would be boring, but I quickly realized I was wrong. I really enjoyed working here.” 

The decision to stay with Gentex provided additional opportunities as well. Sarah finished her bachelor’s degree with financial assistance from the Tuition Reimbursement program. She was promoted to team member support, and then worked as a production training coordinator for five years. Most recently, she was promoted to training specialist for the Limited English Proficiency (LEP) program—a position she is excited about and hopes to build with her skills and talents. 

Sarah’s passion for the program stems from her experiences as a Gentex trainer, but also from her personal life. 

“I know all too well how hard it can be to find work that will treat you well when you cannot speak English. My husband experienced it for years. I could see how defeated he was because he wanted to have a good job but was always turned away,” she said. 

As a training coordinator, Sarah would often see how the language barrier created roadblocks for new multilingual hires before the LEP program began.

“I would always try to help them, but I would also not do too much in Spanish since they would not be hearing it on the floor,” she said.

Since the LEP program was established, the feedback Sarah has heard from participants about the program and the work opportunities it has created has been positive.

“Gentex has always provided great opportunities for team members to develop and grow—now  with the new LEP program, the company can start to provide more opportunities for the Hispanic community as well,” she said. 

Sarah said she loves seeing new employees enjoy success thanks to the LEP program. She believes in this program and the good it provides to the community and is thankful she can be a part of it. 

“I enjoy meeting new people and helping them out in any way that I can,” she said. “When I see them understand and get that ’A-ha!’ moment it makes my heart swell!

About Gentex Corporation

Founded in 1974, Gentex Corporation (NASDAQ: GNTX) is a supplier of automatic-dimming rearview mirrors and electronics to the automotive industry, dimmable aircraft windows for aviation markets, and fire protection products to the fire protection market. Visit the company website at www.gentex.com.