Rockbridge County looking for skilled workers for manufacturing jobs

Thirty two percent of jobs are manufacturing

By Irisha Jones - Reporter

BUENA VISTA, Va. - There's several manufacturing jobs in the Rockbridge County area but several of the industries say they're having a hard time trying to fill those positions because of a lack of skilled workers.

As part of manufacturing month, cities like Buena Vista want to hire more people for industrial jobs. Brian Brown with the economic development office says those jobs are in high demand. 

"We can't fill all the temporary positions we have as well. We are desperately looking for people who want to work," said Brown. 
     
Earlier this year, Munters Corporation began hiring 100 new people. Right now there are still 50 open positions. Brown says others companies like Everbrite are also hiring, but the jobs require a person with the right skills and training.

"They understand the needs of being able to read blueprints, do basic math and the key pieces necessary to understand what their role is," said Brown. 

These welders will soon be ready for some of those local and regional manufacturing jobs. They're getting training at Byers Technical Institute, a recent startup.  

"We have employers calling us on a weekly basis looking for welders for positions they can't fill," said Walt Johnson, director of Byers Technical Institute. 

And jobs are also available in other areas. 

"I did a phone survey with five individuals companies and found 35 welding jobs open within a 35-mile radius of the school location. And that's jobs that are open as of yesterday," said Johnson. 

"They are going about an hour radius to around to find people with the skill set," said Johnson. 

They're also hoping to get some help from Dabney S. Lancaster Community College with classes starting as early as January. 

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