What’s the labor picture in your area? Do you have enough skilled staff? A recent post on the Advanced Textile Association’s CONNECT forum asked, “Is it getting any easier for you to find employees in the textiles industry?” The replies were indicative of how the “front lines” of the industry confront labor challenges.
“My travels recently indicate that people are still having a tough time finding good help,” notes Brett Baird, Southern Regional Sales Manager at Trivantage, in Lithia Springs, Ga.
“From everything we see here, people are still having a hard time filling positions with folks that are willing to work,” notes Ed Vander Vegte, operations manager for OutFront Portable Solutions in Lincoln, Ontario, Canada. “But, between things slowing down and costs going up, more businesses like ours are working with the folks we have rather than hiring more people. The economic uncertainty is creating caution in new hiring.”
At Charlotte Tent and Awning, in Charlotte, N.C., operations manager Roger Carroll says, “We have plenty of people applying to our job posting, but we are having a hard time finding good people with strong work ethics.”
The flip side of finding good people, of course, is keeping them. Bud Weisbart, vice president at A&R Tarpaulins in Fontana, Calif., described the company’s approach. “We continuously make a commitment to long-term employment for our production and office staff through our mentoring and internship processes and programs,” he says.
And, if you are wondering where the “new blood” will come from, Kimberly Hay, ATA’s membership sales and recruitment coordinator, shared an inquiry from a young woman looking to break into the industry.
“I know I want a job in textiles, but I just don’t know what, where, or how,” this recent graduate wrote. “I have been knitting, spinning, dying, sewing, quilting, and some carding and weaving for over a decade.”
So, they’re out there. And if you are attending the IFAI Expo in Charlotte, N.C., next month, you can meet with others facing the
same problem and share ideas.