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Marmen builds "educational pipeline" to recruit new team members


Brandon-based Marmen Energy sent Leah Jaeger to northern Minnesota recently to talk with students at a regional tech school. It’s just one of the trips Jaeger, a human resources advisor for the wind energy manufacturing company, has made to recruit new team members. She’s also traveled to Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida and throughout the Midwest, visiting technical schools to meet the instructors, share information about Marmen Energy and discuss careers at the South Dakota company for students in welding and other trades.

“We joke about Leah’s world tour,” said Aimee Miritello, human resources manager at Marmen Energy, “but the connections she makes with technical schools are a link to an educational pipeline that helps us find the right people for our team.”

 

Finding the right people has been a key factor in the success of Marmen Energy during its five years in Brandon. With a current workforce of 280, Marmen has consistently used innovative methods to attract talent, including television advertising and the regional introduction of walk-in interviews at a manufacturing facility.

 

“We have progressive company leadership that encourages us to use the best new trends,” Miritello said. “There’s an openness for us to try something new—our company is willing to experiment to get the best people, even if it’s not typical for manufacturing.”

 

The company has been consistently successful in its recruiting efforts, with an increasing number of referrals, Jaeger said.

 

“We talk to applicants who have heard from family and friends what a great place this is to work in,” she said. “We offer the things people are looking for, including great benefits and overtime hours.”

 

That kind of reputation serves the company well in a tight labor market, but both Miritello and Jaeger say that encouraging students to consider a career path that includes the trades is vital to the growth of Marmen and other regional manufacturing companies.

 

“We’re talking to students at the Career and Technical Education (CTE) high schools in the region and encouraging student group tours,” Miritello said. “Educational institutions want to link with companies like ours, and we do all we can, including helping with curriculum development at schools like Southeast Tech, where we sponsor the welding program.”

 

Jaeger’s travels establish relationships with regional instructors who can help identify students who might be a good fit for Marmen, and provide the company with a resource for specific team needs from welders to electricians to quality control professionals.

 

“I used to go out in October to talk with students,” Jaeger said, “but now by September I’ve visited all the regional tech schools, especially all the South Dakota schools. We offer scholarships, part-time positions and solid career information for students at all levels. CTE has really developed into a source of great team members. The results of our contacts with schools don’t always lead to an immediate hire, but we see results over time.”

 

Having patience in seeds planted at the educational facilities is part of Marmen’s strategy, Miritello said.

 

“Our leadership understands that we need to hire the right people,” she said. “We’re a little picky, but our reputation brings us great candidates, so we can choose the right fit for Marmen.”

 

Jaeger believes telling the Marmen story to students and teachers will continue to be successful for her company, and also for students looking for careers with great opportunities.

 

“I appreciate the trust Marmen places in me to visit schools and explore new sources and new programs,” she said. “The people I meet can’t believe we offer relocation, great equipment and a bright, modern place to work. We have the things people are looking for in a great career—and I get to connect them to that information.”

 

That connection is helping Marmen Energy find the right new team members and continue to build on their Brandon manufacturing success.

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There is better training for our workforce in Sioux Falls. A multitude of options are available to meet businesses' needs at the postsecondary level including city programs, state grants, technical training, and a new $50 million scholarship program for technical school students.

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