Matt Carr is a manufacturer, inventor, welder, and the President of Storch Products and Aerotrust LLC. He works with talented and dedicated professionals who serve over 1,000 customers annually. Matt’s also had a difficult time replacing retiring team members. And according to the American Welding Society, the welding industry will face a shortage of about 400,000 welders by 2024. Matt found a unique way to source young talent and help them become interested in the industry. How?
Matt became an advisor for a local technical college
During covid, his next door neighbor asked him to get involved in a local advisory council at a for-profit technical college. Matt originally blew her off because he was too busy. But she persisted, so he said he’d sit through a meeting to learn more.
The college offers a program that’s 9 months long, five hours a day, and five days a week. But as he was listening, he realized that they wouldn’t learn anything about fabrication. So he recommended adding an introduction to fabrication to their course lineup. If they took his suggestion seriously, he said that Storch would donate a press brake.
A few months later, Matt was invited back to the school. They had an empty classroom—for him. They asked him to stay involved, help push the program, and continue to advise it. So Matt stayed involved. He points out that it’s easy to get involved. Most schools and technical colleges have an advisory board. They’realwayslooking for involvement.
Invest in the future generation of skilled team members
Working as an advisor allows you to invest in students and become their first choice for employment. In return, you give them a career. Matt points out that it’s not about skills. You can teach someone how to weld your way. But you want someone that will show up on time, be interested in the craft, and plans to be there long-term. Matt committed to showing up monthly to talk to the classes about what’s important for them to learn. It’s also his opportunity to share what his company is looking for in a team member.
How Matt incentivizes students to work for Storch
At Hennig, we have an apprenticeship program and work with local high schools. Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to send many prospective students our way. So how is Matt attracting students to come to Storch after they complete their program?
Matt notes that it’s simple:be there. Invest yourtime. Talk to the students monthly. Don’t send in HR or recruiting. Send your all-stars to recruit and be the point person. Welding instructors talk their language—send them. They can find a way to make it exciting. There will be an ROI.
Matt also realizes that Millennials and younger generations are passionate about making a difference. They are purpose-driven. How can you share that what you do makes an impact? Find a way to tie what your company does to something they’re passionate about.
What manufacturing leaders can do to attract talent
Find your local trade school or community college. Tell them the skills kids need to graduate with for them to be valuable at your company. Be a part of developing the curriculum. There’s a good chance that your commitment will be a talent pipeline into your company. It has been for Storch. Listen to episode #317 of MakingChips for more sourcing insight!
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