Like nearly everyone else, South Carolina-based Bentley Pontoons has struggled to find enough skilled workers to keep up with production demands, particularly welders. So plant manager Dave Hagen decided to partner with a local welding school, Arclabs, where they hosted a job fair and began recruiting.
“Attracting welders is very difficult in today’s economy," said Hagen. "Unemployment remains relatively low, but we need welders and manufacturing employees. To make things even more difficult, we specifically need aluminum welders since nearly every part of our craft is made of aluminum. Welding aluminum is much more precise and difficult than steel.”
Demand for nearly every recreational product is at or above all-time highs and that is certainly the case for Bentley Pontoons.
"With everything we’re dealing with, such as vendor allocations, supply chain issues, the Texas storms which significantly delayed shipments, we have still managed to greatly outperform in the pontoon segment, which is what we specialize in," added Bentley Pontoons president Ryan Marcott. "But we need good, hard-working, dedicated manufacturing employees right now. We even have some managerial roles open.”
Morgan Rizer, career and student services coordinator for Arclabs in Columbia, South Carolina, says he enjoys partnering with manufacturing companies and helping to place students. Arclabs welding school has three locations in South Carolina and one in Texas.
“I had multiple opportunities to talk with some really talented, interested and enthused young men and women during the job fair," continued Hagen. "There is definitely mutual interest from our first job fair with Arclabs. I’m encouraged.”