...The Human Resources Manager at Nascote Industries Jeff Dahlquist says they seek out those who want to return home or stay in the area. He's looking at having to replace a quarter of their maintenance staff who are over 55 years of age.
"We continue to get more and more technical in our jobs. What we're finding out from some of the young folks coming in that technology is just an extension of their arm. They learn that part of it really quick. It's the problem solving skills and the ability to get your hands dirty and willingness to get your hands dirty that is much of the key," said Dahlquist.
The President of Jarco in Salem Tracy Timmerman says they stayed in Salem because of the company's work force, but are now looking to have replace those in their 50's and 60's who grew up in the business.
"You don't have the farming kids out there that know how to fix anything coming off the farm and coming into industry anymore. You are starting at a lower level. It's not an insult, it's just the fact. The people coming in know how to use their iPhone and they know how to play their video games, but they don't know what size a 9/16th wrench is. It's a different world that we live in," said Timmerman.
The lead instructor and employment counselor at the Southern Illinois Carpenters Apprenticeship Program Kenny Rose says their workforce is also getting older and he's not finding a lot of interest among younger people...I could tee off about the crack about farming kids and their iPhones, but we'll just let that slide. Instead... where the $$%# are the 40 year olds? This is the thing about every organization that complains about having to replace 50 and 60 year old people: where are the 40 and 50 year olds that you should have been training up to replace them? Your problem didn't start last week - it started 10 years ago.
The answer, of course, is probably the result of the Great Recession and overall changes in rural economies. But week after week, I read the same articles written in the same big city and small town papers, and it's companies bemoaning the retirement of senior workers. What the heck, folks? Don't you watch the NFL draft? They draft people every year! There's a reason for that!
Sorry, folks, I got a little crazy there - hope you have a great weekend.