How do Elkhart Co companies plan to fill hundreds of new positions?
Hundreds more jobs are being added to Elkhart County’s growing list of already unfilled positions and job fairs are the current key to filling positions there.
“They're struggling right now with that, it's a difficulty. We’re feelin’ it, the companies are feeling it,” said Kyle Hannon, President of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce.
The RV industry is thriving across Elkhart County with more than 600 jobs announced this week to come soon.
Manufacturers, suppliers, and roadways for easy access; It’s clear why Elkhart became the RV capital of the world, but with so many jobs still needing to be filled, the question remains:
“All the companies are saying ‘We’re growing here, can we get enough employees’, and companies who want to come here say ‘Why would I actually locate here, can I find enough workers’,” said Hannon.
Last week, Chinook RV based in Las Vegas announced they will be bringing more than 200 jobs to Elkhart County and today, the world’s largest RV manufacturer, Thor, announced they are expanding creating 400 more jobs.
Hannon says this is a multi-step process and that it’s going to take time from all parties to figure it out.
“’What can we do to make people want to move here?’ that's part of it. The other part is more immediate: ‘how do we get workers to come here?’ And we’re trying to work with our economic development corporation and the other chambers and other parts of the community to say ‘Are there other places that we can reach out to workers there,” said Hannon.
But that’s not the only issue with these new positions popping up because while some workers may benefit, others could lose.
“Some of the entry-level companies are struggling right now. We've had a few fast food places that had to close for a shift it's going to be harder for them, they're workers are going to be attracted by the lure of more money,” said Hannon.
Hannon says the bright side of the shortage: a healthy competition between businesses for those workers has recently brought up the standard of living in Elkhart County.
“You have a little bit of competition between companies to have better pay, better working conditions, and that’s really good for the overall work force,” said Hannon.
So for now, the companies will have to do the work in searching for future employees.
“We have job fairs a fair amount of time but I think they’ve really picked up in intensity. Again, our companies are struggling, they’re trying to do what they can to ty to bring in workers and I applaud that,” said Hannon.
Hannon also mentioned that they are looking into other cities that are rich in manufacturing but don’t face the same unemployment issues seen in Elkhart County so they’re taking several things into consideration in their search for workers there.