WABASH COUNTY, IN – Several employers and more than 150 job openings will be featured at a Wabash County Manufacturing Job Fair from noon to 4 p.m. September 28 at Heartland REMC, 350 Wedcor Ave. in Wabash.
The job fair is a joint project of Grow Wabash County, Northeast Indiana Works and WorkOne Northeast.
“Manufacturing is critical to Wabash County and it is important that, as we find our way through challenging times, employers can maintain or expand their workforces,” said Edmond O’Neal, president and CEO of Northeast Indiana Works, the region’s nonprofit workforce development organization. “The companies participating in this event and the employees who work for them help drive the local and regional economy, and that benefits all of us.”
Participating companies include: Oji Intertech, Wabash Castings, Gebhart Holdings, PreMedTec, Owens-Corning Thermafiber, Real Alloy, SRT Aluminum, Novae Corp., and Wabash MPI/Carver.
WKUZ-FM will broadcast live from the job fair during the first two hours. Attendees, meanwhile, will receive free swag bags and the first 40 attendees will get free hot dogs from Nick’s Weiner Wagon.
Attendees are encouraged to wear masks.
“Grow Wabash County is thrilled to be helping our local manufacturing employers connect with skilled candidates to fill sorely needed positions in their field,” said Keith Gillenwater, president and CEO of Grow Wabash County. “This event couldn’t have come at a better time as Grow Wabash County has been very active with Ivy Tech Community College, Freedom Academy and Heartland Career Center to roll out an extensive slate of training and certification programs to build an even larger skilled labor force in Wabash County.”
Throughout northeast Indiana, it is projected that manufacturing job openings will average 5,110 a year in the next decade, according to Northeast Indiana Works. One of the challenges is that 25 percent of manufacturing workers in the region are at or near retirement age and yet just 8 percent of those employed in manufacturing are 19 to 24 years old.
“We simply have to get more people into the manufacturing pipeline,” O’Neal said. “Additionally, we need to continue promoting the importance of training, much of it short-term, to meet the increasingly high-tech nature of manufacturing careers.”
Wabash County is among the top 500 counties in the nation for manufacturing employment, according to the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University.