Hempfield’s General Carbide tries a creative approach to recruiting

Like countless other companies that have been impacted by the pandemic, General Carbide is looking for reliable employees to fill staff shortages, especially recent high school graduates.

Jessica Gardner, the Hempfield-based manufacturer’s human resources manager, said the lack of employees made the recruitment process “more unique”.

“We are always on the lookout for the best talent. We are always looking for employees who are eager to learn, who want to be part of our culture, but we know there is a need greater than us,” said Gardner. “I mean, every employer, I think right now, we’re all looking for that employee.”

Gardner said General Carbide has tried to be at the forefront by thinking of creative ways to recruit new employees, especially since manufacturing is “crucial” to local communities.

“As the market changed, we really readjusted,” Gardner said. “Let’s offer this part-time position. Offer flexible hours for summer jobs, offer tuition reimbursement (and) learning opportunities.

Sara Lang, career readiness counselor and cyber coordinator at Hempfield, said she wanted to discuss the importance of starting wages more with local businesses.

“We … have to have an income that is livable,” Lang said. “It’s important that we all talk about it as a community.”

There has been a recent call for better work-life balance overall, according to Lang.

“We know that this younger population of employees (is) different from the older population,” Lang said. “They have a job for one or two years and change employers. It’s different than it’s ever been, and it’s not one and done.

Lang said another reason for the lack of employees could be that some people were afraid to go to work amid the pandemic and still experience that fear.

“Our society has completely changed,” Lang said. “Many of these employers are now offering remote work.”

One of General Carbide’s ideas was to hold dedication days for high school students coming to work there full-time after graduation.

“We started talking about (how) all these high school kids… not all of them will get the athletic scholarship, they won’t all go to college, they won’t all go to the military, said Garner. “How can we make them feel special?”

At the Spartan Connections job fair in Hempfield last month, senior graduate William Gallagher, 17, was one of several future General Carbide employees who received his own signing day.

“This is a very important moment in my life,” Gallagher said of Greensburg after signing his contract. “It’s very important to have a lasting job, and I feel like I’ve chosen one that I (will) want to be with for a long time.”

Lang said it’s hard for counselors to ask 18-year-olds what they want to do for the rest of their lives, so it’s best for students to “start with a goal and go from there.”

Megan Swift is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Megan at 724-850-2810, or via Twitter .