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      Local manufacturers need more skilled workers

      As the U.S. Department of Labor was announcing the latest unemployment numbers for the country, local community leaders and members of the private sector in Quincy were touting the importance of economic growth as part of National Manufacturing Day.

      GREDF interim executive director Phil Conover and Quincy Mayor John Spring, along with other community leaders and business owners know how important it is to have a skilled workforce when companies are looking to hire.

      "We've got great infrastructure and we've got great diversity or businesses and different kinds of employers. A lot of our companies are exporting more and more. Exports are going to become a huge factor over the next 10 to 15 years. And we're going to be working very hard with partners to help develop the capacity to export," said Conover.

      The gathering was held at the Schneidman Industrial Park in front of Hollister Whitney in Quincy. The elevator manufacturer has been in business for nearly a hundred years and many of the 250 jobs at the company are what industry leaders consider to be skilled. That means when the company looks to hire new employees, they look for someone who has a background and training in manufacturing.

      "It's a definite advantage for us. Because we don't have to spend as quite as much time as far as on the job training. They can walk in and step up to some of our equipment. They already know how to run it, they know how to read mics and things like that. Having that experience out side of here is a big advantage to individuals whoa re trying to get a job in local manufacturing,"said Hollister Whitney general manager Brian Musholt.

      GREDF said about 17% of the people employed in Quincy and Adams County are in the manufacturing sector. While that compares to just 12% across Illinois and just under 11% across the U.S. Conover also said the average wage for someone employed in the manufacturing sector in the Quincy area is about $49,000 and that is considered a head of household job and Conover said those are ones that will keep the economy moving.