PASCO, Wash.(PRNewswire-USNewswire) — In an effort to help close workforce talent gaps and reduce turnover in the Tri-Cities food processing industry, Northwest Food Processors Association (NWFPA) and DePaul Industries held a roundtable discussion among area food processors at the Port of Pasco last week that led to the development of several new ideas for attracting skilled talent to the industry and area.
Building off of statistics from a NWFPA survey of food processors last year-indicating 40% of the food processing management workforce is eligible for retirement within the next five years, and food processors in rural areas are experiencing this management retirement issue currently-NWFPA and DePaul Industries arranged for key industry leaders to present solutions to address this workforce issue. Among the presenters were Michael Schneider, Project Manager at Impact Washington; Jack Lenihan of the Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Center; David McGiverin, Sustainability and Productivity Manager at NWFPA; and Travis Pearson, Chief Operating Officer at DePaul Industries. Discussions ranged from successful methods to attract military veterans to skilled jobs in food processing, establishing a standard skills base for the industry via the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), and leveraging proven pre-employment training programs such as 'Mechatronics' and 'Heart of the Workforce.' Attendees represented operations managers and HR managers from the industry.
"I found the session highly meaningful, with several actionable takeaways," said Selina Hoflund, Manager & Plant HR at McCain Foods USA, Inc. in Othello, WA. "I'd love to see more food processors involved to share ideas about how to expand our talent pool."
NWFPA, known for its extensive research within the food processing industry throughout Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, is requesting that food processors in the Tri-Cities area contact the organization in order to help contribute to the conversation, provide best hiring practices from their respective plants and seasons, and benefit from the shared resources offered by other processors.
"As an association, we're interested in obtaining a broader idea of the workforce pipeline issues and hard-to-fill skilled positions within the industry," says David McGiverin, Sustainability and Productivity Manager at NWFPA. "There's a huge benefit to food processors working together to solve these issues, and it's imperative-given the alarming pending retirement rate-to begin now."
The Northwest Food Processors Association (NWFPA) Formed in 1914, the Northwest Food Processors Association (NWFPA) serves as an advocate for the interests of member food processors in Idaho, Oregon and Washington and as an information resource to enhance their competitive capabilities. Since 1971, DePaul Industries has focused on its vision of changing the landscape of employment of people with disabilities while growing into the Northwest's most comprehensive outsourcing specialist.