Specialty Fabrics Review June 2019 - 36

ABOVE: An associate guides a
customer through Milliken's
Innovation Gallery located at its
global headquarters, the Roger
Milliken Center in Spartanburg,
S.C. Showcased in the gallery
are the company's many
high-performance textiles
providing solutions to a broad
spectrum of industries.
Photo: Milliken & Company.
RIGHT: Minnesota Knitting
Mills considers its people to
be its number-one asset. The
company offers competitive
salaries and benefits, crosstraining for full-time employees
and10-hour shifts four days a
week. Here, team members
position fabric in the lay up and
finishing department, cutting
it into bands and collars for
outerwear jackets. Photo:
Minnesota Knitting Mills.

36 REVIEW JUNE 2019

"Most people want to 'have an
experience' working at a sail loft/canvas
shop. But we're looking for long-term hires,
so finding the right candidate is crucial,"
says Poe. "And we almost always have to
teach the skills-the people who are already
trained usually already have jobs."
The low unemployment rate
exacerbates the challenge at the very time
the need for highly skilled workers is
increasing, says Craig Haydamack, senior
vice president, human resources, Milliken
& Company. Located in Spartanburg,
S.C., Milliken offers research, design and
manufacturing expertise across a variety
of disciplines, including performance and
protective textiles, floor coverings and
more. The company employs more than
7,000 associates worldwide.
"Take upstate South Carolina," says
Haydamack. "There are a number of
manufacturers in the region, all requiring a
trained labor force. When all these companies
are competing for what is a relatively small
number of candidates, it can be challenging to
attract and retain associates."
Patrick Hickey, managing director,
Minnesota Knitting Mills Inc. (MKM),
says MKM is also feeling the tight
labor pinch. The St. Paul, Minn., knit
manufacturing company provides finished
knit products and parts worldwide, serving
an array of markets including military,
medical, outdoor retail, fashion apparel
and professional sports.
MKM flexes employment as needed,
with numbers ranging from 50 to 100
employees-although it maintains a "solid
core" of highly skilled workers having
a minimum of 10 years of experience.
Overall turnover is less than 20 percent.
"Over the past few years when
unemployment rates have been at 3
percent or less, finding part-time members
has been difficult," Hickey says. "For the
past two years, MKM has worked actively
with outreach programs of Dakota County
in the State of Minnesota. These programs



Specialty Fabrics Review June 2019

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