Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Business

August 4, 2013

Hundreds try to fill 80 openings at Supreme Corp. in Goshen.

GOSHEN — Jobs are being added in Michiana, but not at a rate that is outpacing demand.

A visible example of this gap occurred Wednesday when more than 500 people had applied for 80 job openings at Supreme Corp. just two hours after the four-hour event began. Supreme customizes truck bodies for fleet operators, retailers and contractors.

Many of the people applying were unemployed, like Nick Garren, who made the drive from South Bend with the hope of landing a job.

“This job market is not like it was when my dad was with the union,” Garren said. “You could go down to the (union) hall and get a career.”

Supreme is adding the jobs to handle a surge in orders from fleets, which include truck-rental companies, said Matt Long, chief financial officer at Supreme. The company has plants across the country and other locations may be adding jobs as well, according to Long. In Goshen the company employs 690 people. Another 21 people work at the company’s Ligonier facility.

“The unstable economy (in the fourth quarter of 2012) drove many fleet purchasers to hold off until now,” Long said. “They are putting them (orders) in second half of the year, so we have some pretty good fleet orders coming in the second half.”

Supreme advertised the manufacturing jobs as paying $13 to $14.50 an hour.

Garren, a divorced father with three children to support, has thought about if his family can live on that wage.

“I think I can deal with it,” he said. He said his most recent job was in Pennsylvania and that paid $15.50 per hour. But the job lasted only three months and he was laid off.

Inside and outside the new, very large lunchroom at Supreme, hundreds of people waited to hand their resume to a human resources person and get a chance to make their pitch for work.

Hardy Jones was looking over the lists of job openings inside. He too is from South Bend.

Jones has a job but would like to change, even if he has to commute.

“I thought the compensation was worth it for me to come and look at it. I thought it paid well,” Jones said of the opportunity to work at Supreme in Goshen.

Michael Garman of Warsaw agreed. He had just returned from Florida, where he worked for a while.

“There was not much work in Florida unless you wanted to flip burgers,” Garman said.

He explained that he used to build recreational vehicles and assembling the custom boxes on the back of the delivery trucks at Supreme is similar work

“That’s good money,” Garman said of the collection of jobs that include welding and fiberglass work. “I have been in the trade my whole life.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average weekly wage in Elkhart County in the fourth quarter was $782, which was up 8.9 percent over the prior year’s fourth quarter.

Long said Supreme officials are aware that as the local recreational vehicle industry plants increase production during their good year, Supreme is competing for workers. He said that is one reason the company held the job fair.

WorkOne, the state’s employment agency, promoted and hosted the jobs fair. Chuck Knebl of WorkOne was on hand to help.

“The economy really is much stronger now and the businesses really need more people now,” Knebl said.

And more people are looking for work. According to statistics from the state’s Work Force Development agency, Elkhart County’s labor force grew from May to June. In May the number of people who were in the labor force and employed or looking for work was 92,385. In June that number swelled to 94,501. Because of more people were looking for work, the county’s jobless rate moved from 8.2 percent in May to 8.6 percent in June.

A match needed

One of the problems employers and the unemployed have in filling jobs, is matching skills to openings, according to Knebl.

“There are a variety of jobs not being filled right now because of the skill requirements are more advanced than the larger work force has right now,” Knebl said. “So there are opportunities for people to take real focused assessments of where their skills are.”

He said for a company like Supreme, which has a nationwide work force of 1,700, competition is extensive.

“For Supreme, it’s a global economy,” Knebl said. They are trying to sell their products globally. So that is something workers need to be aware of. They are competing in that economy.”



 

1
Text Only
Business
  • Fast Food Workers Convention-3 [Duplicate] Fast food workers push wage hike CHICAGO — Fast food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers are expected to discuss the future of the ef

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supreme Industries reports improved quarter GOSHEN — Supreme Industries Inc. reported Thursday its second quarter sales and income were up. The company, which makes specialized commercial vehicles, reported its consolidated net sales from continuing operations grew to $71.6 million in the seco

    July 24, 2014

  • Earns General Motors [Duplicate] Recalls cost GM $1.5 billion DETROIT — Recall costs chopped $1.5 billion from General Motors' bottom line in the second quarter, cutting its net income by 85 percent. The automaker, which is in the midst of the worst recall crisis in its history, posted a net profit of $190 mil

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amazon Kindle Service [Duplicate] Amazon unlimited e-book service is limited NEW YORK — Amazon’s new “unlimited” e-book service lets you read 600,000 books. That sounds like more than you’ll ever read, but I found myself struggling to find the books I wanted. It turns out that the library of 600,000 is bit like a small bookst

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ GN140720 blue barn berry farm image 01 New berry farm also offers classes, treats SYRACUSE — A retirement hobby has grown into a new agriculture-based business for a local family.Don and Peggy Bucher and Shanda and Chris Sheeren are members of a farm family who operate Bucher Farms along N. 300 East. According to Shanda, her mothe

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • BIZ GN140720 mike gingerich column image Online marketing methods to grow sales Growing sales through selling online is a powerful way to reach more people and extend your market.To sell online means getting in front of the right people in the right places. You want much more of a laser focus than a scattershot approach. It also

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local job numbers up, but so is jobless rate A growing number of people looking for work in Elkhart County has boosted the unemployment rate despite an increase in the number of jobs.According to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Elkhart County’s jobless rate was 5.6 percent in J

    July 19, 2014

  • Microsoft-Goodbye Android-3 [Duplicate] Axed Nokia X phones suffered from lack of identity NEW YORK — The Nokia X phones that Microsoft discontinued this week blend two rival operating systems, but leave out the best of each.As a result, the devices didn’t become a runaway hit as Nokia’s low-cost answer to serving emerging markets.Nokia X

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Obama opens Eastern Seaboard to oil search ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. — Opening the Eastern Seaboard to offshore oil exploration for the first time in decades, the Obama administration on Friday approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound wave

    July 18, 2014

  • Planners limit use of Hawks building GOSHEN — The types of businesses that could potentially be located in the recently refurbished Hawks building in downtown Goshen could be limited if a ruling by the Goshen Plan Commission Tuesday holds up. During Tuesday’s meeting, commission members

    July 15, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Poll

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
     View Results