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Labor shortage evident for ag industry at job fair

Labor shortage evident for ag industry at job fair

job fair in Central Illinois

About 1,300 jobs were available from 50 local employers at a job fair in Central Illinois June 3.

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — A steady flow of job seekers attended a job fair in central Illinois June 3. About 1,300 jobs were available from 50 local employers.

Agriculture and food-related companies included ag equipment manufacturers, restaurants and a farm.

“We’re getting a positive response,” said Nanam Myszka of Epiphany Farms Hospitality Group.

Their farm-to-fork operation is feeling the labor pinch from both sides — for farm workers and restaurant staff, two areas with notable labor shortages.

In the past, Epiphany Farms’ restaurant required its staff to work at the farm to gain a full experience of the operation. Farm work is no longer a requirement, but it is encouraged for a more meaningful experience, she said.

Other employers included schools, day care, retirement homes, insurance companies, health clubs, a flight center, a bowling alley, a newspaper, an eye clinic and Beer Nuts.

Sara Junk of Multifan/Vostermans Ventilation said they had job openings in administration, manufacturing and light assembly at their Bloomington operation.

“We are getting a lot of applications,” she said.

“Everything” is how Mike Nau, operations manager of Brandt in Hudson, Illinois, described the jobs available at the manufacturing plant. Brandt’s jobs include warehouse, fabrication, material handling, welding, assembly, paint, and truck loading, he said of the company that builds grain carts, conveyors and augers in McLean County.

“We’ve been hiring for four to five months. It’s a competitive market,” he said.

They have already hired 45 to 50 people and need about that many more to fill the second shift, he said. When that shift is full, they will start a third shift.

Some potential employees brought resumes and filled out applications at the site. Some were offered jobs on the spot.

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Phyllis Coulter is Northern Illinois field editor, writing for Illinois Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Missouri Farmer Today.

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