Tough economy is no obstacle for engineering staffing company

According to a recent survey by U.S. News and World Report, the hardest job to fill for employers in 2008 is engineers.

That’s great news for Thiensville-based Core Consulting LLC, because the company’s main priority is to recruit and train qualified engineers for its client companies. The demand for engineers has helped Core grow exponentially in a short period of time.

Formed in April of 2007, Core has grown from its original two founders to 35 employees and just recently moved in to a new 3,500-square-foot office in Thiensville. The company projects revenue for this year of $1.7 million to $2 million. The firm has averaged 63-percent quarterly growth since its inception.

“The tough economy hasn’t really affected us much. It’s actually been very nice to us. What’s good about our business model is that it is somewhat recession-proof,” said Jesse Daily, co-founder and partner of Core. “Companies we work with are either turning more towards a contract workforce to do their business, or they are outsourcing a lot of their design work that we can do as well.”

Core specializes in technical recruiting, training and design outsourcing. According to Matthew Buerosse, co-founder and partner, much of the company’s growth has come from the engineering and technical recruiting side. 

“One of our mantras here is listen, think, involve. We don’t want to be a stagnant company, we want to be a dynamic staffing organization,” Daily said. “When we have an employee that works for us, we really require them to go above and beyond. It’s not just a contract assignment. It’s more or less how you can prepare yourself for the next job you are going to have.”

To keep up with the demands of the changing workforce, Core offers career training in both technical and soft skills so its employees can make the transition from contract job to permanent hire more easily, Daily said.

Since its formation, Core has never had any of its contract workers leave unless it was to become a full-time employee of one of its client companies, Buerosse said.

“We provide our employees with an excellent benefits package, one which is as good as or better then what they can get at a direct hire,” Daily said. “That’s one of the reasons I think we have been so successful. Our employees agree, that working for us is different, that we treat them as people not just a number.”

Contract workers that are placed through Core go through an extensive interview process that includes both a technical skills evaluation as well as a soft skill personality exam.

“One of the things that we try to look at when we place individuals in certain positions is not only do they have the technical skills to be successful there, but do they have the soft skills, the right personality to fit well within that company?” Daily said. 

If an employee lacks skills in a particular skill area, Core trains those employees to become stronger in both professional and technical training, including: CAD training in Pro/Engineer, Solidworks and autocad/inventor, plus training in skilled trades, manufacturing, IT networking even interview skills and career coaching.

“The problem we typically face is that there is a definite learning gap between what skills educators are teaching their students and what skills are needed in an actual engineering position,” Daily said.

To counteract that gap, Core became a PTC educational reseller and launched its design in schools program.

“The program is a free alternative for high schools and universities,” said Daily. “We will provide them with free Pro/Engineer software – enough for all of their students, as well as provide in office or onsite training for their educators to be able to teach those students.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 54 percent of the nation’s aerospace and technology workforce is over age 45 and 33 percent are eligible to retire today. Yet, less than 10 percent of high school students pursue a degree in engineering.

According to Daily, there are more then 10,000 schools involved in PTC’s design in schools program, more then 3,500 of those schools are in the U.S. Core works nationally as a PTC educational reseller. Right now, 215 educators in Wisconsin are involved in the program, and Core continues to add more each day, Daily said.

Teachers at schools interested in the engineering in school’s program go through a two-day training course, either on-site or at the Core offices, to learn the Pro-Engineer software. Dave Hebel, a Core training partner, conducts those training courses.

“This is what the teachers’ need, what everyone needs; for them to learn the software so they can teach the students that will become the employees that we would eventually like to place,” Hebel said.

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