Hiring for the Future is a series from the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board, featuring region employers who provide young people a work opportunity while helping them gain skills and develop a good work ethic in order to succeed in today’s economy.
An interview with Ben Scheiner, vice president, manufacturing, Galfab.
Tell me about Galfab and your plant in Winamac.
We employ 100 people at our Winamac plant. Galfab LLC designs and manufactures the legendary Galfab roll-off hoist, containers and other items that are used in the garbage and scrap industry. We have two facilities; our plant in Winamac employs 100 people. We also have a facility in Phoenix.
I understand you had a very positive experience in hiring a high school student.
Yes we did. West Central High School in Medaryville has a program called RAMTECH. That acronym stands for “repair and maintenance technician.” The Pulaski County Community Development Corp. managed the program; funding was provided by WorkOne.
What tasks did you ask the student to perform and how did he do?
The student was assigned to use our computer aided design software and performed a variety of administrative tasks. He did a great job.
What expectations does Galfab have when hiring young people?
Be polite. Make good use of your time at Galfab. Learn and soak up knowledge. Show initiative and look for projects to do.
What are the challenges in hiring young people?
There is no doubt that a 16-year-old can still have plenty of a kid in them. This can manifest here and there with inappropriate behavior or not understanding tasks. It, then, is our responsibility as the employer to provide clear and concise communication. Finally, lead by example and treat them like an adult.
Many young people find their first job at our fast food restaurants. If you see that listed on a job application, do you view that as a positive experience?
Absolutely. I admire job applicants that have worked at McDonald’s. The company has fantastic processes and systems, which is the key to delivering that reliable flavor and quality at every store they operate. At Galfab, we strive for that same level of consistency in manufacturing our products.
What is most lacking in today’s job applicants?
Too many people lack a strong work ethic. We have employees that just stop coming … no notice … nothing.
Do you have a problem retaining workers?
Our quit rate is not that high. Once people get past that first month or two, they find out that Galfab is a pretty good place to work. We’re family centric, employee owned and we will work with them to keep their jobs.
What advice would you have for schools, teachers and guidance counselors as they prepare people for college and careers?
My view is that the world has two groups, the working tier and the non-working tier. If you don’t have skills, a work ethic and a little bit of experience, you are always going to be seen as less than others.
You have worked in a management position in several states and countries. How would you assess Indiana’s workforce system?
Indiana’s WorkOne system is amazing. I’m very impressed with WEX (Work Experience Program). The program pays the wages of a high school student for six weeks. During that time with Galfab, we work on a variety of basic skills such as communication, good grooming, following directions, showing a positive attitude. At the end of the six-week period, we can hire the young person if a job is available. But, if not, the student can now say on his resume that he/she had a positive six-week work experience at Galfab.
Why should employers provide a work opportunity for youth?
In my opinion, manufacturing is the coolest and most fun field in which to work. The best way to sell young people on a career in manufacturing is to provide some exposure to what we do, be that a six-week work experience, job shadowing or any other career-based learning opportunity.