Blue Jacket grows talent pipeline for area manufacturers

May 31, 2018 No Comments by

Manufacturing is a key employment driver in northeast Indiana, with industries ranging from medical device and vehicle production to food processing and defense contracting. In a recent panel discussion about Manufacturing and Workforce Development produced by Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Jarrod Williams, Staffing Sales Coordinator at Alliance member Blue Jacket, reflected on their experiences helping job seekers connect with manufacturing job opportunities in their region.

With the current shortage of skilled individuals and tight labor market, Blue Jacket finds that employers are willing to take a chance on candidates who have a good attitude, the right soft skills, and any previous work in a manufacturing setting, and train them on-the-job or through in-house training programs. As unskilled assembly positions disappear, Blue Jacket urges candidates to seize this moment, and works to show them how skill attainment now will positively affect their future earnings trajectory and career mobility. They also point out the importance of credentials that will validate one’s capabilities when the next downturn occurs.

Blue Jacket has also taken steps to develop critical transportation supports that enable its workers who live in central Fort Wayne to access well-paying jobs with businesses operating 30 to 40 miles outside the city. Blue Jacket implemented this service last fall with manufacturing clients that employ at least 10 to 20 workers, and has seen many temp-to-hire conversions as a result.

A session at next month’s Annual Conference will focus on ways ASOs can meet manufacturers’ talent needs while also helping workers “upskill” to strengthen their future career prospects. Gardner Carrick from The Manufacturing Institute and Suzy Murphy from Action Associates will be on hand to share their perspective and insights on this topic.

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