JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- A Janesville manufacturer -- desperate for welders to keep up with its growing business -- is offering its employees $3,000 for every successful applicant referral.
United Alloy makes diesel tanks for generators at disaster scenes. Company officials say revenues last year totaled $10 million, with $15 million projected this year, and $20 million in 2013 if all orders are filled.
"That's why I'm so serious about the $3,000," company Chief Executive Officer Terri Roessler said. "It's big."
Roessler says she decided to triple the company's existing referral bonus payment earlier this month.
"I think it's awesome," worker Chuck Nanstad said. "Where else could you get that type of money for doing something like that?"
Roessler says she has tapped out temporary agencies and area technical colleges in search of qualified applicants. Roessler says too often applicants lacked the basic mathematics skill needed to be even considered for jobs.
Governor Scott Walker and others have frequently cited the challenge of finding enough skilled, manufacturing workers for available jobs. Roessler says she spoke with Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan about the issue this spring, and wrote Gov. Walker a letter last week about the disconnect between job openings and the applicant pool worsening.
Roessler believes her employees may be the best recruiters of needed workers because of their knowledge of what it takes to turn out the company's signature product.
"It has to be right. It has to not leak. It has to be the correct size," Roessler said.
"There's a lot of people who don't have jobs right now," Nanstad said. "(I'm) Trying to get a hold of some other friends who might want to apply."
Roessler says her firm's welder wages are competitive and were boosted 15 percent last year.
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