ELKHART — The rapid rise of the recreational vehicle industry has created a shortage of workers and drivers to transport RVs to dealers. Thursday morning, industry leaders gathered to talk about those problems.
At the RV Industry Power Breakfast created by and sponsored by the RVBusiness magazine staff, a parade of speakers talked about the resurgent industry and its needs.
“Our industry here in northern Indiana and other industries in our community are experiencing difficulties in finding, attracting and keeping employees,” said Gregg Fore, president of Dicor Corp., which is an RV industry supplier. “I assume like our company, you have a base of excellent employees who day-in and day-out do a great job for our customers. But as we try to expand operations it becomes exasperating and expensive to try and expand employment.”
The employment shortage is due to the county’s unemployment rate dropping to 5.8 percent. At the peak of the recession in 2009, local unemployment reached 20.3 percent.
Fore said he believes the RV industry, which accounts for 24 percent of all Elkhart County jobs, can continue to expand locally if there are trained employees in the future. He urged other RV executives to invest in their companies and the community while times are good.
“Our failure to do so will result in continuation of employment problems in the future and one day we will look around and wonder why it isn’t any better,” he said, “when we had a chance to alter the future in a positive way.”
Thomas Coley, chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College North Central, told the crowd his college is ready to work with the industry to provide training. The college has started to plan for a lean advanced manufacturing training center at the Elkhart County campus on C.R. 18 to serve local industries, especially the RV industry.