ECTC 2020 Career Day

Daniel Dye / The Herald

Brad Sides, Lilly Company representative, speaks to automotive students about what a forklift mechanic typically works on.

Elmore County Technical Center students had the opportunity to hear from established and well-known employers in the area last Friday at the school’s second annual career day.

ECTC career coach Lindsay Jordan said this event is a good opportunity for students to find out what jobs are available in the area.

“A lot of our students are 10th-graders,” she said. “They need to know now where they can go from here. We want to give them options now so when they get to their senior year and start making decisions about their futures they are not just beginning considering what to do after graduation.”

She said in years past ECTC would host one employer on campus but school staff realized it was taking a full day from school to host one employer.

“You were using a lot of days,” she said. “This activity now allows students to select who they are most interested in speaking with.”

Hyundai Power Transformers was one employer that attracted a captive audience of students.

Josie Adkison, human resources recruiter for Hyundai Power Transformers, said her main goal is to educate students as to what the company she represents has to offer.

“(Our goal is to) be able to expose them to our industry and that it’s not what a lot of people think it is,” she said. “Manu is not dirty or smoke-filled. You can actually make a really good career there.”

She said there is currently a shortage of skilled labor at Hyundai Power Transformers and it will accept entry-level workers with a high school diploma or GED.

“We start at $12 an hour,” she said. “Each year after you are eligible for $2 increases up to $25.”

She said the company delivered 78 transformers and has set a goal to sell 120 transformers this year.

Brad Sides, Lilly Company representative, said his main message to students is to inform them of what a forklift mechanic does and to fill the industry with young mechanics.

“Just to get kids in a specialized field,” he said. “Nobody graduates school and works on forklifts because they just do not know that is out there. I fell into it and it opened a lot of doors and opportunities for me.”

He said Lilly, and industry-wide, there is a shortage of forklift mechanics.

“We have nine techs currently,” he said. “Right now, we are looking for someone eager to learn and show up on time, soft skills.”

He said the local Lilly branch wants to hire up to three more mechanics.

Jordan said the 2019 ECTC career day equaled jobs for some students.

“I know for sure there were at least three who gained employment through our plumbing or electrical programs,” she said. “It may not have happened immediately following this event, but it started the process and made the connection with the employer.”

Welding technology teacher Slade Holley said this is a beneficial event for students.

“Hyundai is a huge corporation and they are dying for employees,” Holley said. “They have a mark they try to make every year and with the amount of employees they have now it makes it hard for them to hit those marks.”

He said companies like Hyundai and others are seeking skilled welders, mechanics and floor workers who have soft skills.

“They are looking for people who can show up to work,” he said. “If you can have somebody actually show up to work and be willing to work they are pretty much going to hire you. They can train them and teach them. That can lead to a very steady, well-paying job.”

He said several of his welding students are interested in pursuing a job with the power transformer manufacturer.