FAIRLAWN, Ohio—Rubber and plastics firms are looking for good people, and three organizations working to help them in this pursuit took part in a Jan. 14 meeting of the Akron chapter of the Society of Plastics Engineers in Fairlawn.
"It's a whole new ballgame, especially if you haven't looked for a job for 10 or 20 years," Ralph Sinistro, director of the Akron location of Ohio Means Jobs, a state employment hub, said. The organization provides quarterly workshops, job coaching, resume assistance and other services to match individuals with employers.
In Northeast Ohio, Ohio Means Jobs has worked with Americhem and other plastics and rubber firms.
"A lot of companies say they can't find people to fill positions," added Jenny Stupica, manufacturing engagement director with workforce development firm ConxusNEO in Akron. "But a job search can have many different silos and it can be hard to make headway.
"We can help put the pieces of the puzzle together and work with our educational partners to make sure that what they're teaching is what employers need."
One challenge for employers, Stupica said, is that skilled trades "haven't been given attention for two or three decades."
"That's starting to cause a problem," she added. "To change that, we need to work with students to get them the skills they need to make them employable. We need to make sure these (plastics and rubber) careers are on their radar."
Mike Gerst said there's great demand in the plastics and rubber market for a variety of technical roles. Gerst is a recruiter with the Management Recruiters placement firm in Akron.
"These jobs are fairly specialized, so we work with employers and job candidates," he added. "Looking for a job can be a stressful time for the job seeker, and we can help with the process."