Sheboygan County business leaders on Tuesday unveiled a new marketing campaign aimed at drawing potential employees to the area.
The “Someplace Better” campaign is intended to sell job candidates on “what they are missing in their lives,” said Dane Checolinski, director of the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation.
Betsy Alles, executive director of the Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce said the area has been a secret for too long and the campaign will draw on the county’s assets.
“We have great work-life balance here,” she said.
Checolinski noted that the words “Sheboygan” and “Wisconsin” were purposefully left off the homepage to help people get pass preconceived notions of the area being rural or cold.
“That is specifically by design. We are trying to get by preconceived notions of rural, preconceived notions of cold,” he said.
Louie Gentine, CEO of Sargento Foods Inc., said that in recruiting people to the area, the idea that the area is rural is one of the biggest roadblocks.
“Unfortunately, we live in an area where it’s harder for people to feel like they would be comfortable,” he said. “Often times, unfortunately, people stop when the word ‘Wisconsin’ is said. Until you have the opportunity to live, work and play and really enjoy all the great assets we have here in the county, it’s really difficult for people to decide to make that leap.”
The announcement featured leaders from four of the county’s top employers, including Kohler, Bemis Manufacturing, Sargento and Aurora. Those leaders all said they have current openings and plan to hire.
For Kohler, that includes 337 current openings and plans for 500 new employees in both new positions and turnover in 2016.
Gentine said Sargento currently has 80 openings. With plans for growth and turnover included, he expects the company to add 300 employees in 2016.
Aurora will likely fill between 100 and 150 openings at its facilities in the area and has brought 10 new physicians in.
Bemis currently has 20 openings, including 15 in manufacturing. Chief operating officer and president Norman Giertz said with an aging workforce, he expects to need to replace as many as 50 workers each year in the near future.
“We’re looking for problem solvers, we’re looking for team players, we’re looking for believers in continuous improvement, we’re looking for listeners,” Giertz said. “We’re proud to be selling to the world while living and working in Sheboygan County and we need more people to join us.”
Steve Cassady, vice president of supply chain and operations support at Kohler Co., added that all of the companies recognize they will increasingly be dealing with an aging workforce.
“This is a campaign to get out in front of a problem that we’ll be facing for many years to come,” he said.