Construction Forms turns to radio broadcast, employment fair in hopes of drawing skilled workers
Sometimes extreme needs dictate extreme measures. Just ask the folks at Construction Forms in Port Washington.
The company, which specializes in the manufacturing of concrete pumping systems and accessories, has seen a surge in the demand for its products. That has resulted in a similar demand for more skilled workers.
Filling that talent gap is the kind of challenge many manufacturing companies are facing.
Construction Forms, 777 Maritime Dr., has turned to innovative means as a tool to help address those manpower needs.
Last Friday, the company held a job fair in hopes of attracting prospective employees.
The preceding week, it hosted a remote radio broadcast of the “Bob and Brian in the Morning” show aired on Milwaukee’s 102.9 The Hog. The segment was titled “Bob and Brian on the Job.”
“Our employees had a lot of fun with the broadcast, giving away hooded sweatshirts and food,” said Jessica Peterson, the company’s human resources manager.
“Bob and Brian teased me quite a bit on air, but we also got a chance to talk about Construction Forms and the kind of jobs we are looking to fill. It was great exposure for the company, and we even had someone stop in with a resume after hearing the segment on the radio.”
Peterson said she hopes the broadcast and subsequent job fair will provide long-term dividends for Construction Forms.
The company received 156 job applications in January, about 50% more than in the average month.
“We look at every job application that comes in, which means a lot of additional work for me,” Peterson said.
Ideally, she said, the company will find some workforce gems in the pile of job applications.
Construction Forms has about 120 employees, with more than 100 of that number working at the Port Washington plant. The company also has personnel in Grafton, as well as Germany, the United Kingdom and Asia.
Peterson said increased product orders could mean the hiring of as many as 20 new employees within the next year.
“Our biggest need is in highly skilled areas, like fabrication welders, machine operators and CNC programmers, but there is also a need for painters and drivers,” she said.
“We are hiring at all skill levels and are willing to train the right people, but we have a need for fabrication welders today — and it takes years to train someone to be a fabrication welder.”
Peterson said the so-called skills gap is a reality with which every manufacturing company has to address, leading to her company’s involvement in such local groups as the Grafton Manufacturing Alliance and Workforce 2020.
“To attract the skilled workers we need, HR people have to become increasingly creative … always looking for new ways to get the word out,” Peterson said.
One of the factors driving the push for new employees is a contract the company has for piping being used to pump concrete at the construction site of the Kingdom Tower, the world’s tallest building, being erected in Saudi Arabia, she said.
Peterson said the company already has an international presence, with sales in Europe and Asia.
Founded in Cedarburg in 1969, the company manufactures components used in conveying concrete to large construction projects, like high-rise buildings, tunnels and bridges.
Image information: CONSTRUCTION FORMS Human Resources Manager Jessica Peterson chatted with job applicant Leroy Pinkston III during last week’s job fair at the Port Washington company. Photo by Sam Arendt