January 5, 2021

Attracting Young Blood to the Glass Industry

By Paul Daniels

A headline that caught my attention last month was from the New York Times: Reinventing Workers for the Post-Covid Economy. The article talked about many industries in which old jobs may not be coming back and went on to discuss how “training programs are needed to provide skills for more resilient occupations.”

The article talks about 12 million people who are out of work and goes on to say that their old jobs may not be coming back. Young people from the hospitality and service industries make up a lot of this group. Many trade unions are setting up training programs to attract these people to the trades, as they reassess their career paths. Some will be going back to school; others will look to the trades for their future careers.

Several cases are mentioned. Restaurant managers that are training to be welders, others becoming electricians and plumbers, but there is no mention of the glass industry. There are many people, including myself, who knew nothing about glass when they answered an ad in a newspaper and went on to have long successful careers. This is truly an industry that will take care of you if you take it seriously as a career. My old boss would always say he liked the glass business because it had some mystery to it. I think it is up us to attract young people to the glass business and let them in on the secret.

This is an industry that welcomes newcomers with open arms and then closes them around you and will not let go. People may move around in the business as companies change, but the glass industry always seems to find a place for them. In my previous life, we used to say, “Hire for character and train for success.” The post COVID-19 economy will displace a lot of young people of good character looking for industries willing to give them an opportunity. The glass industry will be an attractive, secure career as an essential industry that did not close down during the pandemic. To take advantage of this you need to set up training programs in your company to attract these people. As history shows, once they learn our business, they will stay.

There are a lot of resources to help you bring people up to speed. Most manufactures provide video training on their products online. The glass associations offer online training programs. A lot of these people may have some basic skills learned in previous full or part time jobs in the construction industry.

You need be creative with ads you run like: “Are You Looking to Make a Career Change? Entry Level Positions Available,” “Training Positions Available,” or “Looking for the Right Individual to Train for a Career in the Glass Industry.” Training inexperienced candidates is an investment, but essential to fill needed positions in your business. The upside, they will be trained to do it your way.