May 28, 2019 – Richfield, WI – Hy-Brid Lifts in Richfield recently was featured in an article in the Wall Street Journalregarding what to do to fill jobs and keep production on track in a tight labor market.
Terry Dolan is President and CEO of Hy-Brid Lifts. “Like a lot of small manufacturing companies in the state of Wisconsin, we’ve been dealing with the difficulty of hiring employees especially bringing them into manufacturing so we’ve gone a couple of different routes,” said Dolan.
Aside from working with local high schools and creating more part-time shifts, Hy-Brid Lifts has also partnered with the Department of Corrections. “We’ve brought people in who are currently serving time but going through an educational program through the Milwaukee Area Technical College,” he said.
“This has worked fantastic. The employees show up every day on time, they’re brought from their facility to our facility, they’ve been assigned a mentor and each one is learning a trade; they’ve been great employees.”
Questioned whether the company or its regular employees had any reservations, Dolan said “not at all.”
“We had experience with a person we hired who was on work release, we also talked to our employees and we felt confident working with our mentors and the Department of Corrections.”
Dolan said his peers in the industry and others across the state realize they’ve got to find unique ways to keep production moving forward.
“This is a challenging time,” he said. “We’re at less than 3 percent unemployment in the state of Wisconsin, we’re not the biggest company so we really had to find unique ways to secure our employee base and bring in talented workers who want to be here and learn a trade.”
A portion of the article in the Wall Street Journal reads:
At tiny Progressive, Mr. Walters is experimenting with putting former inmates into vacancies. He is experiencing both the ups and downs: Hiring people with criminal records can pay off, but keeping them on the job sometimes presents heart-rending dilemmas.
“The tough part of it,” Mr. Walters says, “is how much rope do you allow? How much leniency do you give before you become unfair to the business or other employees?”
Is there a line between being a good boss and a good person? “It’s something I struggle with.”
Former inmates often grapple with issues that test the most motivated among them—homelessness, strained family relationships, substance abuse. Many return to troubled neighborhoods.
Dolan said he’s very connected with the shop at Hy-Brid Lifts and monitors production and staffing closely. “I’m extremely appreciative of the people who work here,” he said. “The people are always thanking us for the opportunity and talking to me about what they’ve learned.”
Dolan said we are all fighting for employees and “we have to help our community and I think this is an excellent way for us to satisfy the need and be responsible to our community.”