ASA is developing a comprehensive workforce recruitment campaign to build our industry’s image. In his acceptance speech after becoming 2013 ASA president, Jeff Pope (F.W. Webb) challenged the American Supply Association to implement a program that would attract the next generation of our industry’s employees. As he put it, “We need to build our industry’s bench to ensure that we have a qualified labor pool in the next generation.” It is no secret that our industry’s overall labor force has been reduced because of the economic collapse of a few years ago. Distributors and manufacturers reduced their labor costs by maintaining very “thin” levels and working with skeleton crews. But as the economy begins to improve, it doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that the industry’s labor force is also beginning to grow. Attend most industry meetings and you will see direct evidence of this growth. Many industries are facing critical labor shortages as baby boomers begin retiring at a much faster rate than they can effectively be replaced; a situation that could endanger corporate profitability. Where those new workers will come from and the cost of training them are employers’ top two concerns. The young, new labor force is looking for careers that are “exciting and fulfilling,” which often moves them away from traditional distribution roles. Young people may dismiss the PHCP and PVF industry as a career choice because of the misperception that such jobs are “dirty” and “physically challenging.” As we have said many times, our industry is a great career choice hidden in plain sight. Even though we are competing with about 33 million jobs in industrial distribution and manufacturing, there are more than 70,000 individuals building great careers in the PHCP and PVF industry! With these thoughts in mind, the American Supply Association is developing a comprehensive workforce recruitment campaign to build our industry’s image in the minds of those looking to begin working or to jump start a stalled career. From Gen-Xers to retiring military, these job seekers can benefit from our efforts, which will include: • An interactive website with video testimonials from young professionals already enjoying successful careers in our industry; • Facts and statistics about jobs and career options; and • Educational resources currently being offered to advance a job seeker’s career in the industry. Through an aggressive ad campaign in 2014, ASA will direct job seekers to ASA’s Career Site at www.asa.net/Careers, where they will find information about a wide range of career options that exist in our industry. In addition, they will find a comprehensive job board with job listings from ASA distributor and manufacturer members. Industrial Careers Pathway Part of the association’s recruitment effort is an ASA partnership with Industrial Careers Pathway, a multi-industrial distributor trade consortium dedicated to educating high school, college and technical school students about the quality careers available in industrial distribution. ICP has been active in attending technical college association meetings, as well as high-school guidance counselor and trade-school conventions. Through ICP’s activities, industrial distribution has been promoted as a quality career path for young people during hundreds of career days and fairs. In addition, a link from the ICP website at www.industrialcareerspathway.org to ASA’s Career Site at www.asa.net/Careers has been developed to expose ICP visitors to our industry. ASA University Provides a Pathway to Career Advancement The best way to attract potential top-tier employees is to show candidates a career path from entry- through management-level. Most people understand a career often begins with an entry-level position such as working in a distributor’s warehouse or a manufacturer’s plant. However, a defined plan that explains the length of time someone can expect to be in an entry-level position before advancing and includes the training programs that are available to assist them in that advancement, makes a distribution or manufacturing career more attractive. ASA University, offered through the ASA Education Foundation, provides a clear training path for industry employees. This training includes job descriptions, detailed behavior expectations, training opportunities mapped directly to these expected behaviors, and access to content and resources. Access to ASAU is a major benefit for ASA members and will help our industry compete for and train the next generation of employees. For further information about placing a job listing or recruiting new employees for your company, contact Mike Adelizzi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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