In this VERY tight labor market, it is getting harder and harder to find factory workers. At the same time, though, as a manufacturer, you face lots of opportunities to expand your markets and produce more product to sell, but you don’t have the factory floor staff to run machines, inspect product, or package items to ship. Quite a conundrum!
In my experience, there are a few reliable ways to find factory workers you can try if you find yourself turning away business due to lack of production labor. Consider employing one or more of these helpful tips:
Find Factory Workers by Engaging with trade and technical schools.
There are trade and technical schools in many, if not all, states. Programs offered at these schools vary, but many have industrial machinist, welding and/or maintenance programs. To be proactive, speak to the local trade and technical schools before you need workers. I recommend you contact a school’s manufacturing program’s director or dean and meet with them to familiarize them with your company, discuss the types of workers you wish to hire and talk about the pay you offer to new employees. By taking this proactive approach, you will likely be notified about the school’s Career Fairs and other hiring events and the program director may keep you in mind for students looking for jobs either during school or after graduation.
Get involved with your local community college manufacturing programs
In a similar vein to the engagement with the trade and technical schools, it pays to get to know your local community college manufacturing programs and staff. Many of these programs have Advisory Boards, which provide a unique opportunity to help shape the manufacturing programs the college offers to better fit your company’s hiring needs and also allows you to engage with students and instructors. If the college participates in competitions like Skills USA or a CNC Machining competition, consider sponsoring a team or providing access to your machinery or people to help mentor the students. You can also give tours to college students to provide exposure to the great careers your company offers.
Get to know your local community programs
Most major cities have Boys and Girls Clubs, Scouting programs and other organizations to provide afterschool learning and events to young adults who may want or need a job to help support their family. If you engage with these programs, you can likely post jobs at a local center or speak to groups of participants about your company and the opportunities you offer for well-paying careers and advancement.
Sponsor local manufacturing related camps and in-school programs
Programs like SME’s PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education) program and the Fabricating and Manufacturers Associations Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs (FMA NBT) program provide students in-school and summer camp opportunities. These programs and others like them are always searching for manufacturers to sponsor or make donations to support the program or to provide tours to program participants. Again, this is a great opportunity to expose participants and instructors to your company.
There is most definitely a theme to this article: It all comes down to proactively engaging with entities such as the ones above who can funnel factory workers to you. When you create and nurture relationships with these organizations, you will reap the benefits of getting more workers to staff your factory floor!