EVCO Plastics takes aim at skilled labor shortage with EVCO Educates

EVCO EducatesThe manufacturing industry may be booming in job creation, yet it’s still failing to find enough qualified candidates to fill job vacancies. The plastics industry is no exception to this dilemma, as one custom molder reveals.

EVCO Plastics (Deforest, WI), a plastics processing company with nine manufacturing facilities located throughout the world, decided that an investment in knowledge is the best way to combat the skilled labor shortage. The company has established a holistic education program to help industry professionals, old and new, learn the practical skills and requirements needed to succeed in manufacturing.

The cornerstone of the program is the EVCO Educates internship that targets college sophomores and juniors, or recent graduates of two-year technical schools, and introduces them to the plastics industry. The summer program focuses on automation, project engineering, quality engineering, design and manufacturing engineering, emphasizing practical applications of these manufacturing staples on real customer projects.

“Part of EVCO’s mission is to embrace and foster professional growth,” said Dale Evans, President of EVCO Plastics. “Whether it’s the internship program targeting people who are just coming into the industry or ongoing professional development for current employees, we provide the relevant skills and experiences necessary to excel in the modern manufacturing workplace, which is something the industry has been lacking.”

The EVCO Educates program started about eight to 10 months ago, explained Rich Duval, Director of Quality and Human Resources.  “The program is based on recruiting experiences that some of our staff had,” Duval told PlasticsToday in a telephone interview. “How can we change our approach to reach the demographic we need to attract? We developed a YouTube video for our website because most people want to understand the company even before they apply. We’re trying to vet the market a bit so we can make sure it’s a good fit for us and for the applicant.”

EVCO also has a referral program to help with recruitment. “Employees can refer people they know; if we hire them they receive a reward,” said Duval. “Rather than paying a recruiter, we have different tiers of rewards ranging from $500 to $2000, depending on the job.”

EVCO’s first recruiting effort will take place in February. The program will be implemented at all of EVCO’s U.S. sites, Duval said, noting that while the program is similar in each facility, the challenges are a bit different.

“In Wisconsin, in the county we’re in, the unemployment numbers are pretty challenging—about 2.2% unemployment—and up toward Green Bay they’re seeing 2.6% unemployment,” Duval said. “In North Georgia, unemployment is a bit higher at 4.8%, but we have the same recruiting challenges.”

EVCO offers a variety of programs to help with recruitment and retention at its facilities. In Georgia, it utilizes a Georgia Work Ready program to ensure that all employees have the best skills and easy access to training, giving them the confidence and readiness to execute core skills needed on the job.

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