Each day as I drive into the 3M site in Decatur, I’m reminded that across the entire site the one thing that makes our organization a success is our people.
Anyone in industry - a plant manager or a newly minted co-op student or a production operator - will tell you success comes from a trained team of professionals who understand they are a part of a team. They understand for their coworker to do their job well that they themselves have to focus on and succeed at the task at hand.
While our economy is growing and unemployment is low in Morgan County, the Chamber is looking to the horizon. We have to plan now for success later. That’s why when the Chamber’s team of staff and consultants approached me about leading an initiative focused on talent development and recruitment in business and industry, not only did I want to participate, but I wanted to help chart the course for the Chamber’s five-year plan The Partnership.
Our region is on the edge of a boom. That’s not speculation; that’s real. We all know the Mazda-Toyota facility will be located three and a half miles from the Decatur city limits will bring 4,000 hi-tech manufacturing jobs. Did you know another 10,000 are likely to follow in support, supplier and contract employment? Also, Nucor is growing their investment in our area, along with Hexcel, Ruag, Alabama Farmers Co-Op, and Wolverine Tube. Each day it seems there’s another announcement for us to celebrate!
There needs to be a directed, driven and dedicated effort to supply these industries (and those on their way) with a pipeline of highly skilled men and women ready on day one to say “put me to work, I’m ready.” Finding skilled workers in all industry sectors is a huge issue, not just locally but across the country.
The Chamber is uniquely positioned to coordinate this vital issue. Not only are they able to gather business and industry leaders, educators, state and local officials, and investors in a room and develop solutions to fill the gaps, but the Chamber is also - based on years of relationship building and research - able to aggressively recruit willing, able and qualified workers to Decatur-Morgan County from across Alabama and the country.
I can’t wait to see what’s next, knowing the resources we have and what is happening across the region. And it will be our sons and daughters who will benefit then from the work we do now.
Michelle Howell is the site manager for 3M Decatur and task team leader for The Partnership’s Business and Industry-Driven Talent Development and Recruitment initiative. This post is the first of a four-part series telling the story of The Partnership and how it will change the landscape of our business community. To learn more about The Partnership and how to get involved, please click here.