PLATTSBURGH — Few things have changed as much as the local manufacturing world has over the past several decades, but one thing that has remained constant over that time is ETS’s critical role in helping to staff it.
ETS, an industrial staffing firm, headquartered at 186 US Oval in Plattsburgh, works with local employers to provide them with the talent they need to adequately staff their facilities.
Oftentimes, the most common employers have been manufacturers.
“As far as a manufacturer, they have to be really flexible with their workforce. Sometimes they have to downsize, sometimes they have to ramp up really fast. and that’s why staffing agencies are a critical component of that, if they need to hire really fast, we already pipeline that talent,” ETS President & CEO Deb Cleary said.
“We are ready for them. So they don’t have to go out and reinvent the wheel. What we do every single day is look for people, talk to people, vet them, so that we’re ready when our customers are ready.”
In terms of the manufacturing community, Cleary said she’s always looking to try and garner more interest in that area.
“In 2018, I started a not for profit called Ready4Real, which is basically working with at-risk youth in schools to sort of get them ready for a career, get them ready for life. It’s life skills training. So in anticipation of that future workforce and the future workforce needs, we’re trying to sort of build that next generation,” she said.
“It takes a long time. People aren’t familiar with those jobs in manufacturing … The whole manufacturing world is a little mysterious. So one of the things we’ve been trying to do is bring that out in the open, let people have a taste of it, let them see it … because it is changing so much. It’s not this dirty, nasty factory work the way it used to be. It’s very high-tech, very clean, and very interesting work. So we’ve kind of looked to the future to make sure we have that workforce ready and excited for these positions.”
This year is a particularly special year for those at ETS, as they are celebrating their 40th anniversary of being in business.
IN A NEW CHAPTER
Cleary, whose been with the company since 2001, and who’s been CEO since 2013, said the company has only continued to grow in recent years.
“The story’s been written a million times (about) how my mom started the business 40 years ago,” Cleary said. “The more relevant story is how it’s grown so much. Especially in the last five to eight years.”
“We are definitely in a sort of new chapter of ETS, we’re growing, opening up new offices in new places and kind of have a … young management team that is really fired up and ready to go and take the company to the next level and we’re excited about it.”
Cleary said her and her team have had to, like most businesses, constantly adapt to the changing times in order to stay successful.
Staying up to date with technology is just one way they’ve done that.
“We rely on technology a lot more than we used to, whether it’s engaging with the community, or even engaging with our workforce. We’re able to send texts to remind them to go to work or they have a job starting. We’re just a lot more engaged. Everyone lives on their phone so that’s the way we’ve sort of evolved. Making sure that we’re meeting people where they are, in order to let them know what’s available,” she said.
“We need to be reactive when our clients call us so we’re proactive when it comes to building up that talent pipeline, which takes technology.”
It also takes curious people, she said.
“One of the reasons we started Ready4Real was because we believe that if you can build a workforce that’s engaged in wanting to learn, they can learn anything. Manufacturing is changing so much … the technology, even at the manufacturers, is changing and becoming more, it requires more skilled labor so we need to make sure our workforce is keeping up with that. One of the ways you do that is to build curious people.”