Clinkenbeard struggling to fill job openings - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Clinkenbeard struggling to fill job openings

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A Rockford manufacturer adds jobs and needs more employees even though job creation has slowed across the country.

During June Illinois' unemployment only went down a tenth of a percentage point.

According to managers at Clinkenbeard, the company continues to grow because they're able to meet market demand quickly and stay on top of the latest technology,  but that's left a very real problem.

"Right now we're having a hard time getting a hold of qualified people."

Clinkenbeard Tooling Design Manager Matt Gustafson says the company is actually turning away orders because there isn't enough staff to meet the demand.

He believes the current shortage of skilled workers comes from negative perception of their industry.

"I think manufacturing was a dirty word over the past 20 years a lots of kids wanted to go to college and didn't want to go through an apprenticeship or going through a teach school and I think we're going to see the effects of that and it's going to come roaring back now."

General Manager Steve Helfer doesn't' understand the lack of response when they post openings given the poor job outlook in Rockford.

"It is somewhat surprising to me that we just can't find the high skilled people that we need in the area."

He knows what type of employee they're looking for, someone who's ready to learn.

"We do a lot of internal training if you've got the CNC training if you're an excellent programmer that's the kind of person we're looking for superstars to add to our team," said Helfer.

The starting pay for the apprenticeship is between $25 and $30,000 a year, but someone with experience can earn upwards of $80 to $100,000 a year.

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