GREEN  The manufacturing field is far from dead and the need for workers in the field continues to grow by the day.

During Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer’s Building Bridges for Business Engagement meeting, a panel discussion took place looking at 21st century manufacturing. The discussion, led by ConxusNeo Director of Manufacturing Engagement Jenny Stupica, highlighted several manufacturing businesses in Green.

On the panel was RJS President Lynn Zarcone, Ariel Plant Manager Jeff Klusty and Delco President Jim Kane. RJS, which manufactures creel equipment for the rubber industry, and Delco, a plastics fabrication company, are based in Green. Ariel, which manufactures reciprocating gas compressors, is located in Mount Vernon.

Stupica said in 2016 there were 687,400 people employed in manufacturing jobs in Ohio. In 2015, the average annual compensation was $72,534. Ohio manufacturing accounts for 17.77 percent of the total state output, while employing 12.5 percent of the workforce.

"These are high skill, high paying jobs," Stupica said.

For every dollar spent in manufacturing, another $1.81 is added to the economy, Stupica said. She also said for every job added in manufacturing another four jobs are added elsewhere.

While manufacturing is a huge tool in the economy, there is a shortage in the workforce. Over the next decade, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be needed in the United States, with 2 million of those expected to go unfilled.

Stupica said the way to overcome the shortage is to get more people interested in manufacturing, find people with less experience and train them and reduce the need to hire new people by improving retention. 

Zarcone, Klusty and Kane all agree they are always looking for workers and good workers are hard to find.

Zarcone said schools aren’t offering shop class like they used to and now students have to go to a special school to get that kind of training. Kane and Klusty agree with Zarcone that students are not getting into the trades, making it is a challenge to recruit people.

All three companies expect to grow in the next few years and filling the positions may be a challenge.

"The future is scary," Zarcone said. "We are going to need more people."

With a shortage in the workforce comes an impact to business. Zarcone said with a shortage comes paying a lot of overtime to existing workers.

"How do you grow the business in the future if you don’t have the people," Zarcone said.

Klusty said his company operates 24 hours per-day and there is not as much overtime. He said weekend and night shifts are some of the hardest to fill.

Kane said his company offers a  "ridiculous amount of overtime" and runs two 12-hour shifts.

In addition to the manufacturing discussion, Neugebauer gave an update on the city.

Neugebauer presented the city’s finances and gave an update on infrastructure improvements. He spoke on roundabouts and how they are safer, move traffic better, reduce fuel costs and last longer. Since installing the Lauby Road roundabout, there has only been one accident in a two-year period. Prior to the roundabout, on average, the intersection experienced eight accidents per year. The roundabout also saves an average of 6,000 gallons of fuel per year due to no wait time to turn. By 2031, the city estimates saving 21,000 gallons of fuel.

Neugebauer also discussed upcoming roundabouts and a future connectivity plan. He also talked about the Drug Task Force, NEXUS pipeline, new businesses, parks and volunteerism.