Quitting a well-paying job or taking an early retirement is a hard choice to make during an economic downturn, especially when good credit is so hard to come by, so it makes sense that Ford is having a hard time encouraging workers to take their buyout packages. That doesn't ease the need to replace longer-term, highly-paid employees with newer ones under the renegotiated UAW pay scales, however. To help encourage workers to take the buyout packages, Ford has begun holding job fairs to find them other work, making the transition easier for both Ford and its workforce.

The Blue Oval is also launching a web site related to the effort. The goal is to get employees at several plants in Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky to take one of ten available buyout options. The job-reduction situation isn't purely about replacing high-wage earners with new hires, however. Joe Hinrichs, Ford's vice president of global manufacturing and labor affairs, says the company has "more people than jobs," reports the Detroit Free Press.

Cutting back the workforce to reflect the new overall volume of sales in the U.S. is a common concern for all carmakers. Losing a projected 2 million units of total volume in a single year - about 12.5% of the market - is a major change that is shaking up the industry as a whole. Some carmakers, including Ford, which is down 15.8% on the year so far, have seen sales fall ahead of the market average.

The job fairs are hoped to be part of the turnaround, lightening Ford's payroll overhead and gettings its production capacity back in line with demand. One of the first events will be held September 13 at Ford's Conference and Events center in Dearborn, Michigan. The two-hour session from 10am-noon will be exclusively for employees, but the public will be allowed to attend from noon until 3pm.

Buyout packages include a $100,000 lump-sum payment, early-retirement for workers nearing the end of their career, and even tuition incentives for college.