Despite layoffs and store closures over the past year, Hutchinson still has more than 300 current job openings, an area employment official said.
The positions, spread among nearly two dozen employers, are in a wide variety of fields.
“I think we’re usually in the 200-job range” in Hutchinson, said Tucky Allen, Business Service Director and Rapid Response Coordinator at Workforce One, a government-funded development center that serves 62 counties in western and central Kansas.
The listing did not include local legacy employers, such as plow manufacturer Kuhn-Krause or bus maker Collins Industries, though “they’re on my list almost every day,” Allen said.
“They tend always to be looking for good skilled talent,” he said. “I’d not call it high turnover, but they do promote within, and they do backfilling.”
The employer listing the most openings was Hutchinson hospital with 74, though it was the 4½ dozen combined openings at the City of Hutchinson and Reno County that's most surprising, Allen said.
“That shocked me a little bit,” he said.
Reno and Harvey counties don’t see a lot of seasonal layoffs for government, Allen said, though there are swings here during harvests and with oilfield ups and downs.
Also not included on the list were local hospitality and restaurant jobs, which Allen estimated had 40 to 50 openings.
The current openings also offer a broad range of skill levels.
“I would say probably a third are entry level,” Allen said. “Some are good skilled positions. Someone who comes in with moderate skill might qualify if they demonstrate and ability to be trained further. Several CDL (requiring a commercial driver’s license) positions are open.”
Outside of higher level management or salaried supervisory positions, Allen said, most of the jobs are in a $13-to-$20 per hour wage range.
Regionally, Allen said, there are also a lot of jobs in Rice and McPherson counties.
A Nebraska food processing company, BI Foods, is expected to open a plant in McPherson in March in the former Nations Pizza building.
The current agricultural downturn continues to impact plants in Harvey County, though Excel Industries is beginning to rehire, Allen said.
“It seems like growth is going on to me in Hutchinson,” Allen said. “Even though Eaton had layoffs and Siemens has downsized, it still has a sense of growth, proactive type growth.”
“I cover 62 counties,” Allen said. “When I come to Hutchinson, when I come to the Workforce Center, it’s one of the busiest centers by far. We see all types, from the entry level person looking for a janitorial position to engineers looking to come here."
The center is located at Hutchinson Community College, which Allen called "a huge blessing to Hutchinson and business and industry."
"HCC is very responsive and allows us to look at a lot of different training opportunities, to help employers. It’s really great. It’s something that really encourages me when I come to Hutchinson,” he said.
Source: Kansas Workforce One