Coshocton County, Ohio: Lost jobs mean lost community and security as well as lost income
Quite often, ManufactureThis reports on a company deciding to bring jobs back to the United States, or one deciding to close up shop and head overseas. Often those stories discuss the bottom line for the companies and take a view of the workforce simply as a number.
Today, though, we’d like to take a more micro-look at the manufacturing sector. Over the weekend, Leonard Hayhurst, a staff writer with the (Ohio-based) Coshocton Tribune, detailed the impact several companies had when they packed up and left Coshocton County.
The county has hemorrhaged literally thousands of jobs in the last decade, and not just during the economic downturn.
In the past 10 years, Coshocton has seen companies such as JII, Ansell Edmont, Pretty Products and General Electric close their doors and move away. This was even before the economic slump of 2008 when the global economy saw businesses move jobs overseas or fold to foreign competition.
Many in Coshocton feel badly not just over the loss of their incomes, but also by the loss of security and family. Hayhurst spoke with husband and wife Geoff and Cindy Gotti, both of whom lost jobs. Cindy lost hers in 2004 at the company where she'd worked for 31 years; Geoff, in 2011, with a company he had worked at for 18 years.
Cindy told Hayhurst of her former company:
'They took care of us. It was a good place to work. It was steady income. We didn't have the layoffs. We could always count on having a job for so many years,' Cindy said. 'I was there 31 years. That was my career. I just didn't want to see another business close and move out of Coshocton.'
Some big companies remain in Coshocton County, including SanCasT, an iron castings manufacturer, and Kraft, but even those stalwart companies have had to make cutbacks.
Despite external pressures, some companies are able to maintain their presence as a domestic U.S. manufacturer. And, there are manufacturing jobs available in the county, though they’re not always easy to fill.
Hayhurst spoke with Don Hutchins, general manager of SanCasT, who acknowledged it can be difficult to find experienced and well-trained individuals to fill the types of positions for which companies have vacancies.
'The replacement could be between 5 and 10 percent a year of people retiring and changing jobs. Manufacturing as a whole here is looking for 200 to 400 people a year to replace the workers. I hear it all the time it's hard to find people to do this work in manufacturing,' he said.
The personal narratives in Coshocton County are not unique. In fact, they repeat a refrain we’ve been reporting on for awhile at ManufactureThis.
Jobs leave. Displaced workers find whatever jobs possible to pay the bills. Demand increases for American-made goods and companies begin to see the economic sense in having an American manufacturing presence. Companies re-shore jobs. Portions of the workforce are no longer prepared for certain niche, skilled positions.
To address these issues, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) created a National Manufacturing Plan. Among the relevant recommendations are:
- Refocus on technical and vocational education, and reward companies that invest in training programs for their workers
- Focus federal investments in new technology and workforce training on promoting regional clusters of innovation, learning and production
To read AAM’s National Manufacturing Plan click here.
To read more about Coshocton County, click here.
Image of Coshocton County, OH from Ohio Office of Redevelopment's Flickr page, used following Creative Commons guidelines.
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