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“We need to change the pre-existing stereotypes about manufacturing jobs in general,” said Charlotte Hoffer Canning, Chief Culture Officer at Hoffer Plastics.

Clare Goldsberry

August 10, 2021

2 Min Read
Young workers in factory
Image: Winnievinzence/Adobe Stock

It’s a challenge that nearly all businesses are facing — finding and hiring the right employees for the job. As of the latest jobs report, there are 10.1 million open positions. Help wanted signs are ubiquitous and employers say that hiring — even with an increase in hourly wages — is difficult.

This summer, Hoffer Plastics Corp. (South Elgin, IL) announced its “Break the Mold” initiative to rebrand job interest in the field of manufacturing in the Chicagoland area. Through its video series and the release of its dedicated web page, the custom injection molding company amplified voices of its employees who “wish they knew more about manufacturing jobs opportunities when [they were] in high school.”

Charlotte Hoffer Canning, Chief Culture Officer at Hoffer Plastics, told PlasticsToday that the company’s hopes for this new campaign is “not just to recruit for immediate openings but to educate about the opportunities in manufacturing as a great, long-term career choice for young people — whether [they're] just graduating from high school or exploring new career choices.”

Hoffer Plastics offers its employees competitive compensation with profit-sharing bonus opportunities and generous benefits packages that include medical, dental, life and disability insurance; a 401(k) with employer match; paid holidays and vacations; and a safe, healthy work environment.

Finding the right employee, however, is about more than just a competitive hourly wage, Canning explained to PlasticsToday. “We need to change the pre-existing stereotypes about manufacturing jobs in general,” she said. “Young people seem to value flexible work schedules and seek companies where they can leverage skills and creativity. They also seek employers that are environmentally and socially responsible. These are all things that plastics manufacturers can offer; we just need to make people aware of it.”

That’s what Hoffer Plastics’ new Break the Mold is hoping to achieve with an emphasis not just on wages and benefits, but on jobs that do not require a college degree. Hoffer Plastics provides apprenticeship and training programs with tuition reimbursement so that employees can begin building a career without becoming strapped with student loan debt.

“While all of this is important, I think it is also important to add that Hoffer’s key advantage is that we’re not a large corporate conglomerate,” said Canning.

Hoffer Plastics was founded in 1953 by Bob and his wife Helen Hoffer, who set out to create a business that was focused on service to others and putting the needs of customers, employees, and the community first. They believe that by doing so, successful business and financial results would naturally follow. Sixty-six years later, it turns out they were right.

“We’re a family-owned business founded on the values of family, integrity, service, and trust,” Canning added. “These core values have directed who we attract and hire, but more importantly, they serve as our internal compass for providing and caring for our team members, such as choosing people over profits to protect jobs during COVID.”

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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