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
  • BIZ GN0417 spring planting image Spring planting starts slow ST. LOUIS — Most years about this time, northern Illinois farmer Monty Whipple, like so many Midwest growers, would be riding high in his monstrous planter, kicking up dust while sowing corn in hundreds of acres. But this spring has kept him sideline

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ GN0416 401(k) fee image High fees hammer 401(k)s WASHINGTON -- It's the silent enemy in our retirement accounts: High fees. And now a new study finds that the typical 401(k) fees -- adding up to a modest-sounding 1 percent a year -- would erase $70,000 from an average worker's account over a four-d

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ GN0413 tech talk column image 5 keys for businesses to succeed on Facebook With Facebook becoming such a normal and assumed part of daily life for the average American, most businesses recognize the value of using Facebook to increase their business visibility and brand reputation. Retailers and local businesses are no exce

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140412 new biz toy barn 01 Luxury, exotic car dealership set to open GOSHEN — Exotic car lovers in and around the Goshen area will soon have something to smile about with the arrival of the Toy Barn of Goshen, a certified pre-owned luxury and exotic car dealership set to open in downtown Goshen next month.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drew Industries sells extrusion division ELKHART — Drew Industries, through its subsidiary Lippert Components, has entered into a six-year contract to obtain extruded aluminum from Atrium Windows and Doors, which includes selling Lippert’s extrusion assets to Atrium. Atrium is based in Dal

    April 11, 2014

  • BIZ GN0411 frozen food campaign image Frozen food makers plan PR push as sales slip NEW YORK — Frozen foods are about to get some badly needed image therapy. With sales slipping in the category, frozen food makers are in the final stages of preparing a major public relations campaign to defend the nutritional reputation of their pro

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ GN0410 twitter image Twitter tweaks website to attract new users NEW YORK — As Twitter looks to broaden its appeal beyond its 241 million users, the company is introducing a redesign of profile pages that includes bigger photos, more user controls and a distinct resemblance to Facebook. "Moment by moment, your Twi

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS GN0409 bacon virus image Killer virus boosts bacon prices MILWAUKEE -- A virus never before seen in the U.S. has killed millions of baby pigs in less than a year, and with little known about how it spreads or how to stop it, it's threatening pork production and pushing up prices by 10 percent or more. Estim

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS GN0409 lt gov visits image Lt. Governor: LaunchPad 'cool' GOSHEN — Sue Ellspermann liked what she saw in downtown Goshen. “What a cool space!,” Indiana’s lieutenant governor enthused Tuesday afternoon. Ellspermann paid a visit to LaunchPad, a business incubator on the second floor of the Goshen Chamber of C

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ GN0407 digital life image Ups and downs with Google Glass apps NEW YORK -- Google Glass is like a fickle friend. Surprises await, such as the time it took a photo of my ceiling while I was making carrot and ginger soup. I've been using Google's Web-connected eyewear over the past few months. Spending a day tryin

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

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: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Poll

Goshen City Council member Dixie Robinson is asking residents to make an effort to clean up their yards this spring. The city’s Dial-A-Truck program is available to haul trash away. Do you think there are more unsightly properties in Goshen this year than five years ago?

Yes, I have noticed more problem properties
No, I have not noticed more problems
I think the problems are about the same as always
     View Results