162-year-old Illinois manufacturer expands facility

One of oldest manufacturing facilities in Illinois will expand operations, the Herald-Review reported. The news will likely spur the activities of manufacturing recruiters in the state as more highly-skilled workers will be needed to fill open positions.

Where are the opportunities?
Area Development Online, an Web-based news source for manufacturing and business, explained the 162-year-old manufacturing facility, Union Iron, will grow its Decatur, Ill., site by constructing a new building occupying 135,000 square feet.

"This will enhance the effectiveness and productivity of our operations and improve the service levels we provide our customers," explained Gary Anderson, president and CEO of the parent company, Ag Growth International.

In fact, the move is part of a larger initiative to consolidate its processes into one central location, explained the news source. One of the major benefits the company cited in deciding to reallocate its resources to Illinois is the powerful infrastructure the state boasts. The Midwestern state has traditionally been a hub for commerce from across the country, with goods flowing in from every direction.

The Herald-Review explained Union Iron first began operations by building steam engines, which were technological innovations during the time of the company's founding. Since then, it has moved into new territory, focusing on agricultural equipment, such as grain handling systems and conveying machinery.

Who will benefit most?
Individuals with the skills applicable to the manufacturing industry will be in high demand. Currently, Union Iron is home to 115 manufacturing employees, a workforce supplemented by seasonal workers. However, the $10.3 million expansion will provide space for 25 additional full-time workers over the course of the next two years.

"This expansion will mean even more jobs and economic growth for a company that has evolved with our state's agricultural and industrial markets," said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. "With our highly skilled workforce and easy access to the rest of the world, there is no better place for Union Iron to grow and thrive."

Because Illinois boasts one of the strongest and most highly educated manufacturing labor markets in the country, Union Iron has redoubled its efforts in making Decatur its core component. Still, finding employees to fill integral roles can be a difficult task for a manufacturing organization. As a result, manufacturing recruiters can help alleviate much of the strain involved in finding the right employee for the job.