MENTOR, Ohio — If you're looking to stay in Northeast Ohio and rebound into a new career, consider manufacturing. Year-to-year, employment in manufacturing is down by nearly 5% in Greater Cleveland, with the automotive and aerospace sectors hit the hardest by a drop in demand from the pandemic.
However, they're coming back. Plus, there are more than 30 sub-sectors of manufacturing in Northeast Ohio and many are growing.
Manufacturing accounts for half the total economy of Northeast Ohio, as well as about 270,000 jobs and the industry is hiring.
"We are looking for people at all levels," said Mark Saltzman, CEO of Buyers Products.
It is not the 1,500 open positions prior to the pandemic, but hundreds of jobs are available, like at Buyers in Mentor.
"We were the first ones in Lake County to set a $15 an hour minimum wage," said Saltzman.
Buyers is hiring for a range of positions. When the weather gets cold, things heat up at Buyers.
"We're quite busy," he said.
Buyers makes work truck equipment and trailer accessories, but winter equipment like snow plows and salt spreaders make up about 30% of their business.
"You'll see our highway plows and our highway salt spreaders running up and down the state of Ohio," said Saltzman.
Buyers is expanding. Take a drive down State Route 2 in Lake County and you'll notice a big build.
"When we decided to put on the addition about a year ago, we were quite busy, and our builder asked us in March if we were planning to go ahead with it and I said 'absolutely'" said Saltzman. "Our business is very strong and as a country, we're going to get through this pandemic."
Saltzman says his company's success is a product of the people who work here.
"I've been here 30 years," said Brenda Brown-Purcell. "I'm a floor packer, which they call a freight packer."
She says she loves her job.
"I have no problems getting up every morning," she smiled. "Coming to work is a home away from home."
"If I didn't like it I wouldn't be here," said Brian Klotzbach.
He is a press brake operator and robot technician.
"I am a busy kind of guy and I like a kind of job that keeps me busy," he said.
"I like the intensity," said James McClellan, who came to the company a couple of years ago with an associate degree in applied science and industrial welding. Buyers then helped him increase his certification.
"I really see a lot of opportunity to grow," said McClellan.
A profit-sharing plan is one-way Buyers thanks its employees while also being mindful of its finances.
"So, if you make $40,000 a year here, we take $6,000 out of our profit and put it into the profit-sharing plan," explained Saltzman. "There are associates working in this warehouse that have well over a half a million dollars in their profit-sharing plan!"
Plowing into a new year by growing together.
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