When new businesses locate in the Valley or existing ones expand, an important part of that decision is an adequate workforce.
Do we have one here? Tom McClanahan says not as good as it could be. He has more in "Bridging the Workforce Gap."
Tom reports we have a lot of people who need a job right now. There are good ones out there, but it's not as easy as simply filling out an application. There are things that need to be done by both those looking for workers and those who will make good ones.
Brian Haskins of Lake Land College says, "We need training. We need training."
And these men are getting just that at the Lake Land College satellite campus in Marshall. They are learning the skills that they will need to go to work at North American Lighting in Paris.
Last spring, NAL announced a major expansion at it's Edgar County location. It's investing millions of dollars, nearly doubling the manufacturing capacity there and creating 300 jobs. It worked together with Lakeland to find the right people to create that work force. When these guys finish their "classes" they can exchange a book for a paycheck:
Haskins says, "In our manufacturing now, it's become very high tech. A lot of us think back on, you know, you graduated high school and you go to work. Really, it's a little different now that it used to be where a lot of the family farms are gone and those sort of things, people can get those mechanical type aptitude."
And it's that aptitude that companies are looking for, like Taghleef Industries in Terre Haute, which has steadily increased it's number of workers but it has taken a lot of effort on the company's part:
Ken Baker of Taghleef Industries says, "Our workforce is better than it's ever been but we work terribly hard to find good employees."
In fact, of every 100 people who apply at Taghleef Industries, only about ten are eventually hired. But the hard work is worth it. Turnover is low, morale is high and, very simply, employees there do their job and work together:
Baker adds "Taghleef Industries runs 24/7 and 60 percent of the time, there are no supervisors, so the operators work together as a team so, therefore, it's really important that individuals come in and they're collaborative and they fit and work effectively with one another."
So, how do you get one of those jobs when they DO come around here? We'll talk about a number of things you need to know to get that job and better your life in Bridging the Workforce Gap."
Manufacturing jobs or what used to be called a factory job is "not" what it used to be. The average income in one study in our six-county area was over $50,000 a year, higher than the average construction worker.
In our next report some simple ways to help you get there.