Manufacturing industry job fair

The manufacturing industry job fair hosted by Central AlabamaWorks on Wednesday, June 23, at the Wetumpka Civic Center was a success, according to Gindi Prutzman, executive director at the Alabama Works Career Center.

"We're pleased with the turnout," she said. "We've had 100 people come through in the first two hours. We have two more hours left, so we're hoping it'll stay consistent until the end."

The job fair featured about than 20 manufacturers from Autauga, Elmore and Montgomery counties, including GKN, Steris, Jay R. Smith Mfg. Co., Buffalo Rock, Hyundai Power Transformers, AIDT, Glovis and Mobis.

There organization's Career Center Bus that was parked outside the civic center was available for job seekers to receive help with their resumes and to help them set up accounts on the Central AlabamaWorks website to receive alerts about job opportunities throughout the state.

"Our mission is to connect businesses and industries with job seekers and the trained individuals needed to fill their positions," Prutzman said. 

Prutzman said there are several job openings at many of the companies.

"There's not just two or three positions that need to be filled," she said. "Some of these businesses need to hire 30, 40 or 50 people. And many of these manufacturers are considered essential. They make things that we need, so it's important that we help these businesses find qualified employees."

The manufacturers are searching for people to fill entry level through management positions, with some jobs starting with a pay of $18 per hour.

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"Manufacturing is large percentage of our jobs here in Alabama," Prutzman said. "I encourage people to take a second look at manufacturing jobs. It's not the job a lot of people think it is. A lot of it is robotics and operating machinery."

In Montgomery County, Prutzman said the average salary for someone working in the manufacturing industry is slightly more than $54,000 annually.

Krystal Bryan, human resources for Steris Corporation, said she was able to connect with people at the job fair who had a good amount of prior experience.

"I would say that today has been a success," she said. "I'm here looking for people with a certain skill set and prior experience and that is something that we have seen today. We're hoping to make some hires out of it. We've seen people with quite a bit of prior experience and that's not something that always happens at job fairs. It can be hit or miss."

Steris is looking to hire people to fill CNC machinist, machine operator, assembler, secondary machine operator, warehouse specialist and material prep/finishing operator positions. The salary ranges are from $14.65 per hour on up to $20 or more per hour, and includes a $1,000 or $2,000 sign-on bonus.

It helped that the job fair was specific to careers in the manufacturing industry. According to Bryan, narrowing down the scope of a job fair helps to attract people with the skill sets needed.

Central AlabamaWorks is a nonprofit organization established to work throughout Region 5, a 13-county workforce region in Central Alabama including the following counties: Autauga, Bullock, Chambers, Coosa, Dallas, Elmore, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Montgomery, Perry, Russell, and Tallapoosa.

Bureau Chief of The Wetumpka Herald