Small businesses come together to recruit workforce employees

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – A few years ago a group of Golden Triangle-based businesses came together to tackle the challenge of finding skilled workers close to home.

The result was the FORGE Foundation.

FORGE members recently went to the World Concrete Expo in Las Vegas to share what they’ve learned about recruiting workers with others.

While working in construction is a good job to have, Nic Parish, Vice President of Construction and Contracting, has seen retirements outpacing new hires.

And that problem is happening nationwide.

Just a couple of years ago, a group of contractors in the Golden Triangle thought it would be better to join forces to recruit new employees.

That was the beginning of the FORGE Foundation.

Last week, Parish said FORGE members were invited to Las Vegas to share what they’ve learned, and teach others how to come together and attract more workers.

“We went to try and teach other contractors around the nation to create a FORGE-like organization so they can recruit and develop construction careers around the nation,” said Parish.

Parish said the Foundation believes it is best to start early.

“We are focused to try and get in with schools and work on their curriculum and their programs so they can teach students who graduate high school or college that they have skills so their skills can get them a good paying job locally so we work with educators to work on those programs and create new programs for high school community colleges and universities,” said Parish.

And Parish said the Foundation also has a local focus.

“While everyone is excited about the large economic development of the large projects that are coming to the Columbus area there need to be people there to build those things. So the thousands of workers that have come in to work on the aluminum mill or the Terberg Taylor project you need skilled workers to be able to build that or else you will have builders from elsewhere and that investment dollar leaves our area so it helps us capture that wealth inside our area,” said Parish.

The FORGE Foundation plans to continue talking to schools in the area to encourage students to look at going into a trade.

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