WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Manufacturers in Wichita Falls are hoping to partner with the Chamber of Commerce to attract workers to the area.
Finding workers for manufacturing jobs in the area has been difficult. It is a challenge Sharp Iron Group President Michael Stanford knows all about.
“One of the things that's common among manufacturers is finding skilled labor. There's a lot of great trade schools and training here locally but they don't always churn out enough capacity,” he said.
In the five years he has been president, he has seen how stiff the competition to hire welders can be.
“It seems like when we're hiring welders, everybody's hiring welders,” he said.
So, they had to come up with a new approach to hiring.
“Our community doesn’t always grow like we wanted to. So if we can help that to grow by recruiting from outside of our community - bring in tax dollars, new people, new families - I think that’s a win for everybody,” Stanford stated.
The Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce stepped in to help. President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, Henry Florsheim said, “We know that it costs more money for a company to try to recruit a professional employee from out of town, to get them to move here…”
Through their partnership, Sharp Iron Group was able to offer more incentives to attract those workers, and the chamber helped offset those costs.
Sharp Iron ended up of hiring more welders, “We brought in three, so I think it was very successful,” Stanford said.
Now the chamber plans to build upon that concept.
“Since we did that, we had several other companies come up and say, 'Hey can we get assistance like that?' We said, ‘We really need to create a structured program instead of just doing a one-off every time a company came to us’,” Florsheim stated.
If companies bring workers from outside of the area and have them on the payroll for a certain period of time, the chamber will help offset those costs.
They have already gotten approval for the plan from the Wichita Falls 4A Board, but the final decision of whether or not the chamber will receive the $200,000 they need to get their pilot project off the ground will fall to City Council.
“This could help bring 33 to 50 new people to Wichita Falls and possibly their families as well,” Florsheim added.