From Homelessness to a New Promotion: Herb Thompson’s Inspirational Story

Herb Thompson at ASPM in Vandalia.

A few months ago Herb Thompson was homeless. Now he has a fully furnished apartment and a new outlook.

He’s also accepted a promotion.

“What more can you ask for?” he says with a smile.

Born and raised on a Preble County farm, Thompson moved to Dayton at 18 and  immediately found work in manufacturing.

“At 19 years old I was firing up million dollar equipment,” he recently told us.

He enlisted in the Navy worked as a technician for six years. Specifically, he specialized in electronic surveillance on submarines. When he returned to Dayton in the late 1990s, he learned that manufacturing had “fallen off completely.” So he worked for Auto Zone. And Time Warner Cable. For a while he operated a tow truck.

It became increasingly hard to find steady work. A tough job market mixed with a bad break or two led to homelessness.

Eventually the military veteran linked up with Volunteers of America. They referred him to BarryStaff. Within a week of interviewing with Barry, he was working at the ASPM plant in Vandalia.

Even then, he wasn’t super optimistic to begin working as a machine operator.

“It was the type of job I tried to avoid all my life,” he says. “I thought it would be mind numbing.”

Nevermind the repetitiveness, he was told. Work hard and you’ll quickly advance.

He took the advice and used the foot in the door to his advantage. He rolled up his sleeves and hunkered down. Within weeks, he could keep up with workers half his age. Thompson’s confidence grew. The promotion quickly followed.

“I now have an apartment — a wonderful little apartment. I’m gainfully employed. And I feel my value is being appreciated.”

He’s now working as a material handler, which comes with more responsibilities. Does he look back? Yes and no.

“I try not to look back too much,” he says. “However, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”

Then Thompson, who has a way with words, quickly sizes up his journey.

“I’m happy,” he says. “If I was any happier I couldn’t stand myself.”

 

OPINION: Making Manufacturing Great Again Will Require A Two-Pronged Approach

Employment in manufacturing peaked in the late 1970s at over 19 million. Since then, despite occasional positive bumps, manufacturing employment has shown a long-term secular decline. Today, fewer than 13 million workers are employed in factory jobs. This long-run, large scale decline in employment is largely attributable to automation and the offshoring of jobs to low-wage countries. The workers most affected by these technological and global shifts are unfortunately those with the least skills, whose jobs are most susceptible to these causes of displacement. The Carrier deal that President-elect Trump pushed through prevented fewer than a thousand jobs from being offshored, but as the CEO of United Technologies put it to CNBC, many of these jobs will be automated anyway; hence the benefit to US workers is likely very low. Even a thousand such deals are not the solution to the displacement occurring in manufacturing. The correct response to this predicament is skill upgradation, so that workers can work with these new technologies, as complements rather than substitutes. Beyond that, manufacturing also badly needs an image makeover.

In an interview, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, claimed the lack of skilled workers in the U.S. as the reason for the company doing its actual production in China. While some speculate that the skills gap is more fiction than fact, there is clearly a problem in the manufacturing jobs market. Between 2005 and 2016, employment in manufacturing declined by 14%. There many potential reasons for this decline in employment: slow hiring, a small supply of workers, or turnover from workers quitting or being fired. The charts below, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ JOLTS survey, are fairly revealing. Over the same period of employment decline, the number of job vacancies increased from 303,000 to 346,000 while the number of people hired for jobs declined from 369,000 to 272,000.

job_trends

In addition, as the chart below shows, people were less likely to quit their factory jobs during the recession, but the quit rate is returning to pre-recession levels. Layoffs have fallen and remain low, bringing total separations down as well.

turnover

Today, there are 322,000 vacancies that are unfilled. Clearly, manufacturing jobs exist, and employers are ready to hire, but for some reason workers and firms are not matching up to fill these jobs. What could explain that?

As a recent study in the Journal of Economic Perspectives shows, there has been a global shift towards the value added by high skill workers in manufacturing and a shift away from low and medium skill workers. As manufacturing has become more technologically advanced, the demand for skilled workers to occupy positions has grown, but many companies appear unable to find people with the requisite skills. As per a recent report by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, 70% of companies reported shortages of workers with adequate technology, computer and technical skills, despite their willingness to pay higher than the market wage in their area. As a result, nearly 2 million jobs will go unfilled over the next decade due to this skills gap.

But there is more to the skills gap than just workers who don’t have the basic problem-solving or computing skills that companies want. A significant problem facing companies is also the lack of demand for these jobs amongst workers with skills. Many workers are simply no longer interested in manufacturing jobs, and there appears to be a stigma attached to manufacturing work. A survey on the Public Perception of Manufacturing shows that while most Americans perceive manufacturing as the backbone of a strong domestic economy, few parents want their children to work in this industry, and manufacturing is the last career choice for people between the ages of 19 and 33.

Read this article in full at Forbes.com.

 

American manufacturers are looking forward to a big comeback once the election is over

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US manufacturers had a strong start to the fourth quarter and are looking forward to the end of the presidential election, according to Markit Economics’ preliminary report on the sector for October.

The flash purchasing manager’s index (PMI) rose to 53.2, Markit said on Monday. The index is based on a survey of manufacturers, and the “flash” reading is based on 85% to 90% of all responses collected every month.

Economists had predicted that the PMI was unchanged at 51.5, according to Bloomberg. A reading above 50 indicates that the sector is still in expansion.

“Both output and new orders are rising at the fastest rates for a year amid increasingly widespread optimism that demand will pick up again after the presidential election, which has been commonly cited as a key factor that has subdued spending and investment in recent months,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, in the data release.

Manufacturing production increased for a fifth straight month, and new export orders improved from September. The rise in unfinished work due to backlogs was the most in a year. Also, companies said there was more capacity pressures at their plants, partly because they had slowed the pace of hiring.

The manufacturing sector has not yet fully recovered since the dollar’s rise and weak global economic conditions crushed demand for US goods last year.

In September, the PMI rebounded from a contractionary reading of 49.4 — the first slip into that territory since February. Some respondents to Markit’s survey reported a rise in domestic and international sales, with some customers buying ahead of anticipated price increases.

Manufacturing has been a hot button topic in the presidential campaign. Republican nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly said the US does not make things anymore, and has vowed to bring back manufacturing jobs from Mexico and China.

It’s worth noting that manufacturing now makes a much smaller contribution to the US economy compared to the services sector, where two-thirds of all activity takes place.

This piece was originally posted by Business Insider.

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Manufacturing Jobs

By Glenn Richardson
Managing Director – Advanced Manufacturing and Aerospace & Aviation

Advanced manufacturing is one of the key industries driving innovation and job creation in Ohio. The Buckeye State has a rich legacy as a manufacturing hub, and not only has the third-largest American manufacturing workforce, but is considered the best state for manufacturing jobs east of the Mississippi River. Nevertheless, many have an outdated perception of what exactly manufacturing in the 21st Century means.

Here are some facts that might surprise you about a career in today’s manufacturing sector.

  1. You will make a good living. Plenty of manufacturing jobs start out between $40,000 and $60,000 annually, and it’s not uncommon for workers to work their way toward six figures per year with overtime. CNBC reported in June that hourly compensation for manufacturing jobs is 17 percent higher than in other industries and that the average U.S. manufacturing worker earned more than $77,000 a year – with good benefits.
  2. You can stay clean. The image of a manufacturing laborer covered in sweat and grease is an antiquated one. The digital world has transformed manufacturing into a high-tech, knowledge-based industry in which a keyboard is used more often than a power drill. In fact, at Honda, one of Ohio’s top manufacturing and automotive employers, all the associates wear white uniforms. Why? Because if any of those uniforms are dirty, floor managers know something’s not working properly.
  3. Jobs are available. New technologies, materials and manufacturing processes have led to a resurgence in Ohio manufacturing, creating new opportunities for employment. A report released in February by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute declared that 3.4 million new U.S. manufacturing positions will need to be filled in the next decade.
  4. Skills are a must. The manufacturing industry is working hard to attract smart young people with skills in STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – to fill those jobs. Ro Khanna, a former deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Commerce wrote in the Washington Post, “If you think of manufacturing as a tedious job with no intellectual stimulation, you haven’t visited a U.S. factory floor lately. Whether making steel bars or suits for firefighters, many of today’s manufacturing jobs require the ability to operate complex machines, math skills and an understanding of how to maximize efficiency.”
  5. Manufacturing is cool. How many industries afford you the opportunity to play with robots for a living? The new technologies we are seeing in advanced manufacturing have changed the way we make things. 3D printing allows us to create physical products directly from digital files, no tools or fixtures required. – like Robert Downey Jr. building his new Iron Man suit. Ohio institutions like America Makes and Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow are blazing a new path in manufacturing, leading to new innovations and great careers.

This piece was originally posted on jobs-ohio.com.

BARRYSTAFF July Newsletter

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BARRYSTAFF Interviews Dozens at Job Fair

applicantWhen the decision was made to hold a job fair at the newly-opened BarryStaff office in Springfield, expectations were kept in check.

There were several unknowns.

Did people know about the new office? If not, were they willing to find it?

Luckily, there was nothing to worry about.

Roughly 25 people interviewed over the span of a few hours. More than 50 percent of the applicants interviewed were qualified to fill positions at Clark County area companies.

Within the next week, BarryStaff had three people already on the job. Five more were awaiting interviews.

One applicant was placed the day of the job fair.

“I took all the applications to a couple new customers,” said BarryStaff’s Pam Bartee. “I also have after-work functions that I’m hoping will benefit.”

One man, who said he saw advertisements for the job fair in the newspaper and on TV, said people are willing to do anything to work.

“There are a lot of good workers who aren’t working,” said Carl Quesinberry. “Springfield needs something to get going.”

BarryStaff is currently in the middle of planning another job fair, this time at the company’s headquarters in Dayton. Details will be released as plans are finalized.

Check out this short video of the Springfield job fair.

 

BARRYSTAFF Celebrates One Year in New Facility

ribbon cuttingCall it a milestone in BarryStaff’s commitment to the downtown Dayton area.

The company’s brand new 13,000-square-foot facility opened June 1, 2015 on Webster Street. One year later, BarryStaff continues to work with local companies to supply industrial, clerical and permanent job placements.

BarryStaff is also the only business in Dayton licensed to screen travelers for the TSA Pre-Check program.

“Our new facility has allowed us the space to better serve our applicants and expand our services to our clients,” said President Doug Barry.

The Pam and Warren Barry Community Room also opened in 2015. To date, more than 50 businesses and organizations have requested to utilize the room for off-site meetings. With enough space for 80 people, white boards and an exquisite view of downtown Dayton, BarryStaff is proud to serve business professionals on its home turf.

The company has operated from three other downtown locations since 1982.

Check out this short video of BarryStaff employees at work.

 

Employee Spotlight: Kaytee Ryan of Active Electric

employeeLast year Kaytee Ryan moved from Denver to Dayton. She needed a job, but application after application went unnoticed for some reason.

Her online pursuit led her to BarryStaff, and the staffing agency became one of her first stops once she got to Dayton.

“I got a good vibe from everyone,” she recalled.

Ryan now works as an administrative assistant with Active Electric in Moraine. She was full-time after 90 days and she’s been with the company over a year.

“I’m definitely staying here,” she said. “This will be my second home for a while.”

At a time when so many job seekers struggle to stand out above hordes of other applicants, Ryan said she felt relieved when BarryStaff offered to send a video resume to clients. Videos are kept short – 60 seconds.

“I think it sped up the hiring process,” Ryan said. “Everything seemed seamless.”

Check out this short video that shows how a video resume is made.

 

Client Spotlight: Steve Jones of ASPM

clientWaynesville native Steve Jones has been with ASPM for 18 years. He now serves as the plant manager in Vandalia.

Roughly 100 BarryStaff employees work under him. What’s more, a BarryStaff recruiter has remained on site for a handful of years. The goal is to ensure immediate communication with one of the company’s longtime partners.

What makes BarryStaff different, according to Jones, is the longevity of BarryStaff employees.

And longevity is important to Jones. Eighty percent of upper-level employees at ASPM held entry-level positions at one time.

That means current employees should take note.

“We want them to understand the opportunities at ASPM,” he said. “It’s easy to get wrapped up in leaving for a quarter raise. But if they stay, they’ll find themselves promoted to different positions.

“Stay with us and we’ll give you a career,” he said.

Check out this short video of life inside ASPM.

 

Acknowledgements

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Random Business Fact: Wal-Mart averages a profit of $1.8 million every hour.