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Cline Tools CEO explains Skilled Iowa

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 11:45 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 1:58 p.m. CST
Caption
(Nicole Wiegand/Daily News)
Machinist Zack Rawlins, of Kellogg, fine tunes a mechanical component on a vertical machining center at Cline Tools in Newton on Tuesday afternoon. Many of the positions at Cline require training and certification traditionally offered by vocational programs that is now offered through Skilled Iowa.

For employers, the Skilled Iowa program will not only fill a void from the lack of middle skilled workforce, but it will save time and money.

President and CEO of Cline Tools, Jim Long, is looking forward to the program. He hopes to help out the community.

“It’s sad about the unemployment numbers,” Long explained. “We have a difficult time finding skilled workers. We have been trying to fill six jobs in the past six months. We have filled three.”

Overall, Cline Tools has spent more than 80 hours trying to find employees qualified for the job, not including job fairs. Long would like to find someone who is experienced, but understands that the people who are qualified for the job have jobs.

“We have had help wanted signs out in the yard, and have put ads in the papers,” Long said. “All of us would love to find experienced workers. If you steal from existing employees you have to use a higher pay.”

The National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) allows employers to find workers who have the skills set needed for the job. Most employers get an abundance of resumes for one job, and Cline Tools has dealt with that.

“Probably 95 percent of the resumes do not have the basic understanding of the job,” Long said.

He is open to hiring workers who are not certified, as long as they show potential.

“If you find someone with aptitude, it’s worth it,” said Long. “We believe we have to be home grown.”

Long believes it is easier for companies to hire within a community. When hiring from out of state, employers have to take in a number of factors. Long explained that the lack of skilled workers is not only an issue for them, but the country as well.

“Everyone who I have visited can’t find a skilled work force,” Long said. “They need folks and no one has the skills.”

The NCRC assessment will concentrate on applied mathematics, locating information and reading for information. Long believes the assessment will be a good thing. He was happy to hear that the assessment will concentrate on math and reading. Long said that it will be an important part of their hiring process.

He admits the demand for general labor has died down, but it opens a demand for more educated workers. Their workers use a lot of computer skills as well as 3-D modeling and general research.

“Not many people have machinist skills,” Long said. “They have to be efficient with programs and machines. Everything is computerized. They (employees) need to be computer literate.”

Long has been a supporter of the Skilled Iowa movement for a while. He has been working with DMACC to explain the demand of the work force.

“I have been active with DMACC, and letting them know the need of additional workers,” Long said. “I have been trying to convince them to get skilled job training; in tool and die from DMACC (Newton Campus).”

Cline Tools makes a wide range of products, including blue print tools, custom tools an custom design parts. They are located at 415 E. 19th St. N. in Newton.

Matthew Shepard can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 425 or via email at mshepard@newtondailynews.com.

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