Jobs are available, but finding the right employee is difficult.
Congressman Bill Owens heard this all too familiar lament as he toured North American Door Corp. in the Town of Plattsburgh earlier this week. Plant Manager Patrick McCall said he could hire 10 employees immediately if the right candidates applied.
"We have the product. We have the equipment. We need the people to run it," McCall said.
They are looking for workers who will show up for work on a consistent basis and have the ability to learn and retain knowledge about a variety of positions on the manufacturing floor, he said.
The company used to hire through temp agencies but even that has been more difficult recently, he said. They also have had interns from CV-TEC at times.
"It's good, solid, reliable work," he said. "We just need to find the personnel interested in the same thing."
Owens said that has been a consistent theme as he has met with manufacturers across the region. An estimated 3,000 unfilled jobs exist across the state.
He said he has had discussions with schools, the New York State Department of Labor and others in the workforce-development field on ways to address the issue.
"We are trying to find a way to match employers with trained people who will come to work every day," Owens said.
Many possible ways to alleviate the problem have been discussed, he said, including tweaking the unemployment-insurance system.
Owens said he would like to include McCall in future discussions.
North American Door Corp. manufactures commercial steel doors and frames at its facility at 1471 Military Turnpike. The doors are sold through a network of distributors. The parent company is Gensteel Doors, based in St. Laurent, Quebec.
The company employs 10 people at present. McCall said new personnel are trained by those experienced employees.
New workers start at $9.50 an hour during the training period, then are bumped up to $10.25 an hour once it is successfully completed. Future raises are based on annual evaluations and also tied into the company's profitability.
North American Door opened a 10,000-square-foot plant in Plattsburgh in 1993. That plant was expanded to 20,000 square feet in 1996, and production was fully automated.
The company bought the present 35,250-square-foot facility in 2010 with plans to increase business.
"We'd like to continue to grow and expand here," McCall said.
The inability to attract a reliable workforce is stymieing those efforts.
"We are still not where we thought we would be three years ago," he said.
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