Manufacturing is an important part of the local economy.
That was the message shared with local business leaders Tuesday morning at the Redwood Area Hospital when the annual Redwood County breakfast was held as part of Minnesota Manufacturer’s Week.
“Thank you for all you do,” said Julie Rath of the Redwood Area Development Corporation (RADC). “You are making a positive impact in our county and in the entire region.”
While the message of appreciation was emphasized during the recognition event, a bigger issue continued to rise to the top. For manufacturing to continue to be a success in the region it needs more people to fill its jobs.
Finding employees is a constant struggle, especially as rural areas see population declines when young graduates see the bright lights of the big city and leave the area.
A recent welding class offered locally is one effort being made to try and help meet the needs of local employers.
Chett Bisel of Redwood Metal Works said his company is seeing tremendous growth, and they have already hired one of the welders from that class and are looking to hire another.
Denis Myhrberg of the Workforce Council said she is working with Rath on an idea that would bring employers together on a regular basis to talk about issues, such as employment recruitment, so they can address them as a whole and can network with each other.
Myhrberg said if companies can get together the group can have better luck offering common trainings for employees to help address their needs.
Other manufacturing companies in Redwood County are considering expansion, but they are pensive about that expansion if they do not have a work force back to draw from as they expand their businesses.
The good news is manufacturing demand is growing in the area, as representatives from Daktronics, Heartland Wood Products, RVI, Inc. and Ritalka and Country Enterprises and CE Signs & Designs talked about how things are going.
The RADC is actively seeking added manufacturing industries that would move into the Redwood area.
According to Rath, there are available spaces to rent and purchase in the area, and she is talking with prospective businesses on a regular basis.
Millions of dollars in revenue are being made in the Redwood area through manufacturing, and it appears that growth is going to continue.
The challenge is getting the help that is necessary to encourage that growth.