Page 30 - Wire Rope News & Sling Technology - February 2019
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           “In chapters seven and eight I also       Ken Forging Offers an Opportunity to Stay and Grow
         talk  about  GPS  Educational  partners   At Ken Forging, in Ohio, as with many small manufacturing firms, they
         and  Cardinal  Manufacturing  as  being   are having some problems filling positions in areas where there is a need.
         two unconventional models of putting   “That’s the story all over,” says JoAnn Whetsell,  Ken Forging marketing
         a school inside a business – and a busi-  director. “But the reality is that we have an excellent pay schedule, excellent
         ness inside a school. Both of these exam-  health benefits, three different shifts to choose from, and if they wish to have
         ples happen to be in Wisconsin as well.”  overtime hours they can also get that. Yet still, we can’t fill every opening.
           Students leaving college now  aver-  “Once workers join Ken Forging, though, they don’t want to leave,” says
         age tens of thousands, if not hundreds   Whetsell. “In our forging department, Danny has been here now for 31 years.
         of thousands of dollars in student loan   Does that say anything?
         debt. Those entering programs to find   “Ken Forging has staff who have stayed in place for 16, 17, 18, 20, even
         work in manufacturing typically  owe   32 years.
         much less money through other routes   “We not only offer equal opportunity, but also listen to our  employees.
         for gaining an education, including   We’re extremely safety-conscious. And we give our new hires a trial benefit.
         starting in community colleges or tech   They do not have to stay if they don’t like it here. That gives them something
         schools in addition to having employers   to work on.”
         glad to help them with the cost as they   According to Whetsell, people stay because Ken Forging has a very good
         proceed with valuable training.      work culture. “In fact the president and owner of our company also hap-
           Terry Iverson reminds us as well that:   pens to have been a worker in the plant – this is only his 49th year with
         “In addition, for every one worker in   the company.”
         manufacturing, there are another four
         employees hired elsewhere. And new re-  make anything in  this  country  any-  understanding the issues. Iverson feels
         search suggests impacts on the economy   more. Recent years show manufactur-  that in this country we’re so self-ab-
         are even larger than that if we take into   ing employment is up.     sorbed, tuned into immediate gratifica-
         consideration the entire manufacturing   “As I have told my kids for a long time,   tion, that understanding the whole sto-
         value chain plus manufacturing for oth-  there are no black and white answers to   ry isn’t something that we want to do.
         er industries’ supply chains. This may   anything,” adds Iverson. “Everything   “Likewise,  when  we  discuss  issues
         cause manufacturing to account for one   is  a  shade  of  gray.  And  in  negotiation   with our kids we need to help them un-
         third of the GDP and employment.   there should be win-win situations.  derstand that there are different sides
                                              “Sometimes it takes more time to get   to issues, pros and cons. They need to
         More automation, more jobs?        the big picture. People inherently want   know how to research details to make
           “Despite the misconception that ev-  to understand immediately and make   an educated decision.
         erything  has  ‘gone overseas’ and we   decisions on a moment’s notice. Things   “People tend to think that absolutes
         make less stuff here, the GDP has gone   don’t work that way. Everyone should   go  on  for  decades.  but  we  know  that
         up with  other indicators.  Automation   get something out of the deal. The only   isn’t true,” adds Iverson.
         has actually resulted in us making   things truly black and white are death   “Everything changes. Chinese wag-
         more  here.  But because  employment   and taxes.”                    es are rising, they’re making more
         numbers have gone down steadily since   Decisions in turn should be based on   products and acquiring more skills.
         1980,  everyone thinks  that we don’t   all the  facts,  as  well as studying and   Their wages have actually gone up.
                                                                               This in turn means their cost of liv-
                                                                               ing has gone up. China now has a
                                                                               steadily growing middle class thanks
                                                                               in part to the tremendous growth in
                                                                               their manufacturing.”
                                                                                 Now there is competition  for work-
                                                                               ers. But also, every year things do be-
                                                                               come more automated.
                                                                                 Instead of putting people out of work,
                                                                               quite the  opposite typically happens
                                                                               – more workers  are needed to manu-
                                                                               facture the parts involved with the
                                                                               automation. With  the  rise  in  the  use
                                                                               of robots and drones, there is a greater
                                                                               demand for parts, tools, and programs
                                                                               for running this technology.
                                                                                 More workers are needed to manufac-
                                                                               ture parts for such equipment as well
                                                                               as to service the new automation. “And
                                                                               the labor for that  type  of work com-
                                                                               mands a higher wage,” says Iverson.
                                                                               “Such work has become sophisticated.
                                                                               We eliminated several low-paying jobs,
                                                                               for example, but may have also created
         Students, administrators and instructors from Frank H. Peterson Academy, celebrate the   one  or  more  high-paying jobs.  At the
         CHAMPION Now organization with founder Terry Iverson and Lego Robotics Guru Mark
         McCombs from Renaissance Jax. Photo © Mark McCombs, Renaissance Jax                    continued on page 32
         30     Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   February 2019
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