Labor shortage hits local manufacturers | News, Sports, Jobs

Labor shortage hits local manufacturers |  News, Sports, Jobs

About 30 people work there making insulated copper wire for various industries, including automobile, agricultural and appliance, and for the military. The plant, within a few blocks from Garrettsville’s busy Main Street, needs about 100. In this community, Therm-O-Link pays the highest wage — about $20 per hour not including an extra $2-per-hour attendance bonus — yet the company can’t find workers, its president, Brian R. Jenkins, said.

Labor shortage hits local manufacturers | News, Sports, Jobs It’s the same situation at Thermo-O-Link’s sister plant in Warren, Vulkor, where tin electroplating is done. There, they have about 32 employees; they need about 60.

It’s a problem happening across the Mahoning Valley and likely, the U.S. One person with close ties to local manufacturers said she routinely takes calls from manufacturers looking for help. Still, they’re trying to keep up. The equipment at Therm-O-Link, Jenkins said, is booked six to eight weeks out. It should take about four weeks to fill an order.

The result at Therm-O-Link is customers are finding the sheathed copper wire they need for their products elsewhere, like Mexico and China, Krisher said. Manufacturers, like retailers and restaurants, find themselves desperate for employees and struggle to catch up with an economy recovering from the pandemic.

“We can’t service our customers like we are used to,” Jenkins said. “This business was built on delivery and our backlog is something we’ve never had, and that is not what the company is built on, it was built on service.” “They are under great pressure to deliver harnesses and they are going to go anywhere they can to do that,” he said. “This is a real commodity. It might as well be corn or soybeans. There is no contract, you take a PO (purchase order) and you fill it.”

“We hear it every day and I’ve been fielding more phone calls from manufacturing companies in the community who haven’t been involved with MVMC (Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition), but they are looking for ways to approach this, so it’s definitely a common theme,” Jessica Borza, MVMC executive director, said. “Absolutely,” Jenkins said when asked if customers are finding the parts they need elsewhere when Therm-O-Link can’t.

MVMC helps local manufacturers identify needs and help with solutions to grow and upskill the local workforce through various methods, including training programs. “Absolutely,” Jenkins said when asked if customers are finding the parts they need elsewhere when Therm-O-Link can’t.

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