Florida HS Seniors Flock to A-1 Roof Trusses
A-1 Roof Trusses was not offering the highest paying jobs in the room of 27 other companies in the St. Lucie, Florida area, yet 12 of 16 high school seniors wanted to come work for them.
“They were impressed that we took the time to show them a career they actually liked, rather than being told they would be hired and can be replaced if it doesn’t work out,” says Bobby Henry, A-1’s Director of Manufacturing. “They walked away knowing that we would treat them like family, and understood how the company was going to help them grow.”
A-1 was participating in St. Lucie School District’s “Ready to Work Boot Camp,” a program focused on providing jobs for high school seniors who do not plan to attend college. The program is a collaborative event between the local Indian River Community College and economic development committee that helps students understand what employers are looking for, what it means to have a full-time job, and gives them professional development opportunities.
Bobby says the company received an invitation to participate, and jumped on it quickly. “It’s not that easy to find good, quality help,” says Henry.
A-1 spoke to the group of students about what they were looking for in employees, interview questions they may encounter, and other topics. A week later, the students toured the A-1 facility, where Bobby and others walked them through the different departments, production floor, and had them complete a Wonderlic and Predictive Index test.
They also walked the students through the company’s syllabus, books, training, career paths, leadership opportunities, lean manufacturing concepts and much more .
“The more you can be personal with them, and make them understand they aren’t just a number and you really care about them, that’s what they are about,” Bobby says. “They like money, but they aren’t all about money either and we have to relate to them differently.”
Bobby says the company hired three of the students, “and they are all working out great.” One is picking lumber in the saw department, one has already progressed in two weeks to build jacks, and the third is stacking.
For the other students, A-1 helped them understand their Wonderlic and PI scores, and helped steer them towards the best careers that they may enjoy.
Bobby also attributes the company’s success during the boot camp to their overall training program. “From recruiting all the way to training them in the plant, the return on investment is unmeasurable,” he says. “You can’t really put a value on it if you have a good, defined training program.”
As a result of their participation in the boot camp, A-1 has been invited to participate in future Economic Development Council meetings to discuss different way to entice more employers and employees to move into St. Lucie.
To learn more about what other component manufacturers (CMs) across the country are doing to attract young talent, check out the many case studies SBCA has compiled on their workforce development site.