5 Effective Recruiting Strategies for Manufacturers

August 21, 2023
Written by: Micki Vandeloo

While I continue to hear how much manufacturers need workers, when I question manufacturing leaders, I often hear the same old story with regards to recruiting:

  • “We post our jobs on a job board.”
  • “We partner with the local community college.”
  • “We work with a temp agency.”
  • “We post job openings in the local newspaper.”

As the saying says, “If you always did what you always have done, you will always get what you always got.”  In other words, if these recruiting techniques worked, many manufacturers would not be needing workers.  We have to differently about recruiting strategies for manufacturers.

Here are five effective techniques that manufacturers can (and do) use to find workforce:

  • Recruit from local nonprofit workforce development programs. Many programs such as Dress for Success can help connect you to workers interested in manufacturing careers. You can find local organizations by doing an internet search for workforce nonprofits in your area.
  • Work with state resources to help you connect to special workforce populations. All states have Job Centers or WIOA Centers that can connect you not only to adults that register through their office to find work, but also to individuals in special populations that have higher rates of unemployment, including previously adjudicated individuals and veterans leaving the service.
  • Invest in an apprenticeship program. Apprenticeships are a proven tool for both attracting and retaining workers. Apprenticeships programs provide a career pathway with increasing wages, which many workers want.  They also provide opportunities for career advancement as additional skills are obtained.
  • Connect your apprenticeship program to a pre-apprenticeship program. Pre-apprenticeship programs are designed to provide basic skills training to prepare high school students for entering industry apprenticeships.  There are no content requirements for pre-apprenticeships, such as there are for apprenticeships, but all pre-apprenticeships must tie to an apprenticeship program.  So, once you have your apprenticeship program established, approach your local high school or technical school about connecting students to your program through an existing or new pre-apprenticeship program.  Our go to source for all things apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship is RADD Training
  • Engage with area schools to teach students about manufacturing careers. The ultimate goal for skilled talent recruitment is to create a pipeline of workers to ensure you have workers not only for immediate needs but a “bench” coming in for years.  The best way to create a pipeline of workers for your company is by actively engaging with your local schools.  Offer to speak to students at the grade school and high school levels about manufacturing careers.  Invest in SME’s PRIME program at your local school to create an industrial arts program.  Host Manufacturing Day events at your facility.

The best thing about the recruiting strategies for manufacturers above is that, with the exception of your investment in time and, in the case of apprenticeships, money, these are no or low-cost efforts.  In many cases, some of the costs of developing and executing an apprenticeship program can be offset by grants, making your investment in recruiting even less expensive.

If you have found other innovative ways to recruit, leave a comment on the Unira Workforce LinkedIn page.  Share your great ideas with the Unira Workforce community!

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