Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation Collaborate with Greater Dodge County Manufacturing Firms To Take Action Against Skills Gap

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Pam Korth, Human Resources Manager at Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation and Chairperson of the Manufacturing Business Alliance of the greater Dodge County, Wisconsin area shares the educational and marketing efforts of the organization. After working diligently on promotions during Manufacturing Month in October, the group is encouraged by the results of campaigns directed toward students, teachers and parents to promote careers in manufacturing.

Youth Apprenticeship Programs are Being Revitalized

The labor pool for skilled trades is too small in the area. We need to increase the pool.

Dodge County, Wisconsin and surrounding area manufacturers are taking action to promote the availability of family supporting jobs available in the manufacturing trades. The recently formed Manufacturing Business Alliance of greater Dodge County is gaining momentum with aggressive activities to address the skills gap and now has the highest membership since its inception two years ago.

Pam Korth, Manager of Human Resources at Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation and current Chairperson of the Manufacturing Alliance commented, “This alliance was created out of need. The labor pool for skilled trades is too small in the area, which is saturated with manufacturers. We can’t grow our companies by hiring away labor from each other. We needed to increase the pool.”

The alliance was created to promote the benefits of industrial manufacturing jobs in the community and local area. According to Korth, “There is a huge opportunity between educators, community and parents to learn about today’s manufacturing jobs. These are not the manufacturing jobs of old, they are jobs that leverage technology, have paths for career growth, offer continuing educational opportunities and offer a collaborative environment. They are family supporting jobs with benefits.”

Manufacturers are struggling to fill skilled jobs. In a report presented at the 2013 Wisconsin Economic Outlook Conference, Linda Salchenberger of Marquette University predicts that in 2016, Wisconsin will have a shortfall of 7100 metal manufacturing employees and a shortage of 13,000 employees in metal manufacturing trades in 2021.

In addition to networking and sharing ideas, the Manufacturing Business Alliance has been working on a communications campaign targeted to parents, middle school and high school students about the benefits of manufacturing jobs. The campaign is using video and radio promotions and colorful posters in high schools to promote manufacturing jobs.

The alliance is also revitalizing the Youth Apprenticeship program, in partnership with local high schools, which places young people in businesses, who during the course of their apprenticeship get to try different jobs within an organization.

Working with the Moraine Park Technical College, the Manufacturing Business Alliance will learn from surveys starting with area high school students to learn what is important to millennials and their view of manufacturing.

The manufacturing industry proves very strong in Dodge county and the surrounding area. For example, in the 2013 Dodge County Workforce Profile developed by the Department of Workforce Development, manufacturing industries boast the largest payroll in the county at $461,990,190. The second largest industry payroll is education and health at $256,876,816. Also in the report, the manufacturing industry has the third highest average annual wage at $47,224. With construction in the number one position with an annual wage of $64,958 and professional and business services in second place with $52,884 average yearly salary.

Currently, the Manufacturing Business Alliance members include: Alltech, Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation, Ashippun Business Association, Bachhuber Manufacturing Company, Bay-Lakes Council BSA, Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce, Beaver Dam High School, Beaver Dam High School and Unified School District, Breuer Metal Craftsmen, Burgess Norton, Cambria-Friesland Area Chamber of Commerce, Centro, Inc., Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, Columbus School District, City of Columbus, Contree Sprayer & Equipment Company, Dodge County Land Resources & Parks, Federal Mogul, Gardner Manufacturing, Glasfloss, GPS Education Partners, Hartford Area Chamber of Commerce, Horicon Chamber of Commerce, Innovative Technologies, John Deere Corporation – Horicon Works, Juneau Chamber of Commerce, Kirsh Foundry, KLS, Lomira Area Chamber of Commerce, Lyco Manufacturing, MadREP, Mayville Area Chamber of Commerce, MEC, Metalcraft, Moraine Park Technical College, Northwoods Paper Converting, Inc., Randolph Chamber of Commerce, RCI Engineering LLC, Reeseville Area Chamber of Commerce, Remedy Intelligent Staffing, Rochester Concrete Products, Sensient, Supreme Manufacturing, Theresa Chamber of Commerce, Thunder Pallet, Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce, Waupun Area Chamber of Commerce, Waupun High School, Waupun School District, Wayland Academy, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin.

Speaking on behalf of the Manufacturers Business Alliance, Pet Korth says, “Our group really is gaining momentum with a grass roots effort to communicate and collaborate in the educational, business and governing community. I’m very excited about our activities we think the work we are doing now will help strengthen all our manufacturing businesses in the Dodge county and surrounding areas in the future.”

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Founded in 1975, Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation consists of five groups: Large Tanks, Portable Vessels, Contract Manufacturing, Carbon Steel and Mepaco. The Mepaco group manufactures food-processing equipment. Apache is an employee-owned company and a subsidiary of Dexter Apache Holdings, Inc.

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Jessica Jacobson
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