Originally published in Latimer County News-Tribune | Okmulgee—Franklin Electric’s plant in Wilburton is facing the same challenge that many other manufacturers across the country are battling— hiring employees with proper training or experience in modern manufacturing.
“One thing that’s hard for us to find is someone who has training or experience with CNC machinery,” said Cindy Ulmer, regional human resources manager for Franklin Electric. “It’s been a struggle.”
The company recently joined forces with OSU Institute of Technology to remedy their talent needs. Interested candidates can be sponsored by Franklin Electric and receive up to $1,500 based on their academic performance as well as a paid internship at Franklin Electric. Sponsorship leads to full-time employment upon satisfactory completion of the internship and graduation from OSUIT.
“Ideally we’d like offer a sponsorship to someone fairly local to Wilburton, someone who wants to come back here and live in this community,” she said.
Franklin Electric Co., headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana, was founded in 1944 and has grown into a leading global provider of systems and components for moving water and fuel. Its plant in Wilburton is the company’s largest manufacturing facility in the U.S. with 275 employees. The plant is built around three main product lines: electric motors, water pumps and control boxes.
For years, facility management has spent time and money training new employees with no CNC experience how to maintain, operate and repair the machinery. After a few years some of these employees, now with experience and training, take jobs in larger metropolitan areas leaving management at Franklin Electric back at square one, Ulmer said.
So when she heard about sponsorship opportunities through OSU Institute of Technology, it seemed like it could be the answer to their problem. Students in OSUIT’s Manufacturing Technologies program earn their associate degree in a hands-on learning environment equipped with technology used in the industry.
“Franklin Electric is a company full of caring people to work with and for. The management team cares about all of the employees and strives to provide meaningful incentives throughout the year,” Ulmer said. “If working for a large, stable company is something that you are searching for, then Franklin Electric may be the employer for you. It’s a great place to work if you want to build a career somewhere you will truly feel appreciated.”
Dr. Ina Agnew, vice president of student services, said sponsorships benefit both the employer and student in a variety of ways.
“Businesses sponsoring students see a return on investment that results from being able to test drive prospective hires through internships leading to hiring technical talent who are a good company fit,” Agnew said.
It also means reducing the time it takes to hire someone resulting in reduced advertising and recruiting expenses; savings on training costs; increased productivity; and higher revenue from retaining a skilled workforce, she said.
“Sponsors place students with their best employees who model effective work habits, cultivate the relationship with the students, and share the opportunities that exist for upward mobility within the company,” Agnew said.
Sponsored students also have the highest retention and completion rates at OSUIT.
“Students know exactly where their college education is taking them because there is a clear pathway to the career and company,” she said. “In this economy, in these uncertain times, a sponsorship demonstrates the value employers place on a technical college degree, and students know their future is secured.”
For more on the Franklin Electric sponsorship opportunity, contact Nate Todd firstname.lastname@example.org or call 918-293-5296.