Signs of the Times - June 2020 - 26

NUTS + BOLTS

companies need leaders, experienced,
responsible leaders."
I asked how long it took him to
find an experienced sign professional
for his last hire. "Honestly, the only
time we do find experienced sign
professionals is when they leave
another shop," Mark said, "which can
have other negative consequences. Or
they are relocating, in which case you
just get lucky." The limited number
of skilled sign professionals available
is the number one challenge to growing
his business, Mark reported. "There
is plenty of work to be found," he said.
"Adding experienced, skilled employees
to produce the product is the barrier."
WHERE TO LOOK?
So, where or how does one find
experienced people to fill vacating
positions in the sign industry? "We
have done what we can to work with
our local vocational school," Mark
said, though he cautioned that our
nation's vocational schools do only
an average job at training very basic
job skills in certain areas, including
the specialized realms required of
the sign industry.
Another thing Wagner Electric
Sign Co. has done is hire skilled
people part-time out of retirement.
"Short of those things it's a process
of hiring those who apply and putting
them through a probation period,"
Mark said. "Either you have found
someone who can be trained, or
you move on to the next hire. This
process is expensive and frustrating,
but necessary." I'm sure most of you
are experiencing the same issues
and more when it comes to locating
skilled labor.
As the sign industry has grown, our
pool of skilled "sign people" is dwindling.
We need to evaluate where we are
26

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

JUNE 2020

as an industry and solve this problem
soon. The past few decades, our
industry has seen an explosion in
technology, which, contrary to most
consequences of automation, has
opened up more jobs on the labor
side as most fabrication and installation work still must be performed
by human beings. Now, we have a

shortage, and it is potentially costing
us our future as we sift through the
available unskilled workforce.
We can only blame ourselves. So,
what do we do? In the August issue,
I will suggest some ideas. Until then,
ask yourself, "What have I done to
introduce the sign industry to the
younger generations?"



Signs of the Times - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - June 2020

Contents
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - BB1
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - BB2
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - Cover1
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - Cover1a
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - Cover1b
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - Cover2
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - 1
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - Contents
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - 3
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - 4
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - 5
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Signs of the Times - June 2020 - Cover3
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - Cover4
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