Broadcasting on All Channels


Broadcasting on All Channels

TheTrussCo takes its workforce development efforts outside the box—and onto the airwaves.

“We primarily meet our workforce needs through word-of-mouth,” says Jesse Pettigrew, production manager for The Truss Company & Building Supply (TheTrussCo) in Eugene, Oregon. “We also have a referral program that offers current employees a monetary incentive for bringing in new workers.” In addition, the company gives tours to the architectural students at the University of Oregon, posts job openings on craigslist and, most recently, advertised production positions in 30-second radio spots. The ads ran three times a day, six days a week, for 45 days.

Pettigrew believes he’s already seeing some success: the combination of radio spots and craigslist postings resulted in a good number of candidates for the entry-level production positions they were seeking to fill.

Steve Strom, VP of Oregon operations, explained that labor is a big issue in his market. Since 2001, Strom has maintained a relationship with the local community college, where he sits on the curriculum board of the technology department. Pre-screened candidates from the drafting program are sent to work as designers at TheTrussCo.

Unfortunately, that solution doesn’t address labor shortages in production. Strom said that the “difficulties in finding people today on the production end include young people not wanting to go into hard labor.” To meet that need, TheTrussCo is thinking even further outside the box than radio.

“We’ve partnered with an organization assisting people released from correctional facilities as another avenue to find employees in production,” explained Pettigrew. For the past four years, TheTrussCo has been collaborating with Sponsors, an organization that provides re-entry services to those released from Oregon state correctional facilities and the Lane County Jail, to fill positions in the production department.

For more than 40 years, Sponsors has been nationally recognized as a model in following evidence-based best practices to provide re-entry services. For the past four years, they’ve had a successful partnership with TheTrussCo. A representative from Sponsors has toured the Eugene plant, and job postings for production employees are placed on the bulletin board at Sponsors’ Reentry Resource Center. Candidates are pre-screened by Sponsors, and final interviews are conducted by Pettigrew at the Sponsors facility.

“Presently, we have two star employees who have risen above. One has been with the company a little over a year, showing a strong work ethic, while the other has shown tremendous leadership potential. These are qualities you look for in any employee,” highlighted Pettigrew.

Pettigrew said he intends to stick with Sponsors. “They’ve been there to find employees fast when we needed a helping hand. Obstacles aside, it’s definitely a good start for any of them to get their foot in the door,” said Pettigrew. 

About the Author: Lena Giakoumopoulos joined SBCA’s membership development team in 2014 and also focuses on workforce development and other management committee initiatives. She holds a masters degree in global marketing and has written for newsletters, manuals, brochures and websites.

Check out the December issue of The Market Place for a look at more creative ways CMs are solving their labor challenges. 

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