Tomah Chamber & Visitors Center Newsletter October 2019 Newsletter - Page 18

Workforce Solutions & Celebrating ManufacturingMonth By: Tina Thompson, President & CEO October is Manufacturing month and I felt it would be a good time to talk about some of our initiatives. As we all know, workforce is an issue across the board in nearly every industry. This isn’t just a Tomah issue, or a Wisconsin issue for that matter, it is all over. To that point, have you ever heard the phrase “Do It For Denmark”? The Danes recognized their population decline and embarked upon the “Do It For Denmark” campaign to increase birthrates and encourage population growth. Simply put, we all need more people. How does increasing population growth tie in to Manufacturing? Increasing the population does address the issue of filling jobs, but not for a solid 18 more years (plus 9 months). One of the more immediate ways we can address some of the workforce issues we have is by getting people into the workforce sooner. Did you know that in Tomah, a high school graduate can start working full time for anywhere between $15.00/hour to $23.00/hour with no formal education beyond their high school diploma? These jobs include heath insurance and other benefits such as profit sharing, PTO, sick time, dental, vision, retirement and more. Not too shabby, right? The opportunities don’t end here. In several cases in talking with plant managers and HR professionals, I’m learning that for the kid who wants to pursue a technical, engineering, robotics career, the path to this can be found in manufacturing and guess what…these kids aren’t taking out student loans, they’re getting their education funded through their employer. Working for a manufacturer is constantly evolving based upon technological advances, ever changing consumer demand and continuous improvement practices (among other factors as well). We are inviting the public to join us on Manufacturing Day (always the first Friday in October). We will be hosting tours of three of our local manufacturing facilities. The tours will be in the morning and will provide parents, kids and curious members of the public with an opportunity to see what manufacturing looks like in 2019 and ask questions about the opportunities available. We are also working with Tomah High School who is coordinating the students and guidance counselors that are interested in learning more. Throughout the year, our efforts will continue to focus on workforce as a pillar of our scope of work. We will in put efforts towards building trades and construction, emergency services and healthcare in the form of creating panels of seasoned professionals to speak to high school juniors and seniors. Last school year, we had approximately 400 students attend each panel. The feedback from students and parents was exceptional. I was able to participate in one of the panels on behalf of one of our member businesses and was impressed with the quality of questions from the students as well as their level of sincere interest in the opportunities available to them. We look forward to continuing this program into the 2019-2020 school year. As we consider workforce and opportunities in Tomah, I hope we continue to encourage people to consider manufacturing as a strong and attractive option for employment. We will be continuing our efforts to make Tomah an attractive place to work and live. We will be continuing our efforts in educating people on the opportunities available and we will be continuing our efforts in helping our employers fill vacancies. While we all want a quick fix and immediate resolution, some of the solutions will simply take time. Just know that we are keenly aware of the issues and we are working to help you out. Until then, “Do It For Tomah”! -tt