Written by Kera Mashek, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
NEW HAMPTON (KWWL) -
The latest jobs numbers out Tuesday from the US Labor Department show the fewest job openings posted by employers across the US in the last five months.
But in some eastern Iowa communities there's just the opposite problem: lots of open positions, and companies are struggling fill them.
With nearly 300 workers and two international locations, TriMark is New Hampton's largest employer. The company suffered during the recession, which led to layoffs. But now, it's experiencing a remarkable recovery, with orders constantly coming in and more staff needed.
"We have another 20 to 30 yet to hire this year and at all levels," said Lynn Hopp, TriMark Human Resources.
But there's a problem. Companies in the small town are having a tough time filling open positions.
"Sometimes when people hear New Hampton is a town of 3600, they think, 'Oh gee, there's nothing there. Why would we want to move there?' But really we have everything you could need: grocery stores, hardware stores, gift shops, flower shops, anything for quality of life like our great parks system and sporting events," said Megan Gleason with New Hampton Economic Development.
And its not just industrial businesses looking to hire. Right now, there are over 100 open jobs in a variety of New Hampton businesses.
"People are looking for mechanics. Restaurants are looking for people, also our hospital and nursing. We have office positions. So really anything you're looking for, New Hampton can fit your need," Gleason said.
So New Hampton Economic Development is launching a marketing campaign, hoping to draw people to the charms of small town life, including low-cost housing and good schools. Those efforts have businesses like TriMark hoping to bring in a much needed new workforce.
"We know that we have to provide some training, but employees that are willing to come work with that kind of mindset to learn new things, we're very excited about adding them on," said Hopp.
Those new workers can then keep factories and small communities like this going full steam ahead.
Most of the open positions in New Hampton offer wages starting at $14 an hour, and there are jobs ranging from entry level to skilled. A listing of current job openings can be found here.
And the city says its challenge to fill jobs is not unique. It's been working with Dubuque, which one online job board shows has 1,000 open positions.
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