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Milwaukee-area company Generac needs to hire 900 people, 700 just in Wisconsin

Generac facility.jpg
Posted at 4:32 PM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 11:14:49-04

WHITEWATER, Wis. — The job market is red hot right now if you are looking for work.

Generac, a Milwaukee-area company, is looking to hire 900 employees. They are getting creative while trying to get people to join their team.

“Generac is looking for 900 jobs, 700 of which are here in Wisconsin. We have about 500 in manufacturing and 400 in engineering, customer care and supply chain,” said Tom Pettit, chief operations officer of Generac.

Generac facility.jpg
A woman assembles parts for a Generac generator inside the business in Whitewater, Wisconsin on March 22, 2022.

But trying to fill those positions is a challenge in the current job market.

The latest unemployment rate for Wisconsin is at 3 percent and that is below the national average, which is at 3.8 percent. According the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, there is a very low unemployment rate combined with high work force participation. That means there are not a lot of people who are looking for a job who can’t get one.

Generac whitewater, Wisconsin
Overlooking the production floor at the Generac Power Systems facility in Whitewater, Wisconsin on March 22nd, 2022.

“Your unemployment rate is for those who are able to work, who have jobs, who you know who are choosing work,” said Mark Kass, editor of the Milwaukee Business Journal. “It's just a lot of individuals throughout the last 24 months have left the workforce for a number of reasons."

In Milwaukee, the unemployment rate is higher than the national average. It is at 4.2 percent. That’s down from the same time last year when it was 5.9 percent. It is way down from the start of Safer At Home in the pandemic when it was at 16.5 percent.

JP Garcia, who works for the Milwaukee employment company Express Employment Professionals, says he isn’t necessarily seeing people who are unemployed, but people who are moving around in the job market.

generac generator
People inside the Generac Power Systems facility in Whitewater, Wisconsin assemble parts for a generator.

“One of the issues, you get somebody started somewhere and because it's such a competitive market, somebody might come along and offer them another dollar or two and then that person (is) instantaneously gone,” said Garcia.

Pettit says in order to be competitive at Generac, they have moved away from having one or two shifts per day to 12 shifts per day so people can basically choose their own hours. But with so many jobs to fill right now, they have to make do while they wait for workers.

“We have invested in automation so we continue to do. We work on productivity to try to find ways to work smarter, to try to find ways to get more out of an existing hour of work,” said Pettit.

There are a couple of career fairs coming up for the company. On Wednesday at Generac Power Supply at 900 N. Parkway Street in Jefferson, the company is hiring for assemblers, painters and testers.

On Wednesday, March 30, the company will begin walk-in Wednesdays. Anyone interested in a customer support or consumer sales focus job can walk-in and fill out an application. The company says it will try to match you to the best job.

For more information about jobs at Generac clickhere.

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