Addison, Texas-based medical injection molder All-Plastics received a COVID-19 initiative training grant through the State of Texas and Alamo Colleges to assist in training improvements for new and existing workers.
The Skills Development Fund COVID-19 Special Initiative began in response to the demand increase for disposable medical components amid the pandemic, an Aug. 18 news release by All-Plastics said.
The company primarily manufactures medical products for infection prevention, vascular, respiratory, diagnostics, orthopedic and wound management companies. All-Plastics saw its largest demand increase this year in its infection prevention products, Jennifer Latiolais, development director, told Plastics News.
The new skills development grant is "not typical," as traditional state funds for skills development have been "basically paused" due to the crisis, Latiolais said.
"They were looking for manufacturing companies that were still hiring and needed help with getting all of the new employees up to speed with these specific processes," she said. "We have been adding on positions and hiring through the pandemic. There's been a lot of good people looking for work. … We're seeing people that have never been in manufacturing before."
The grant helped to upgrade and extend some of All-Plastics' training programs, Latiolais said, with new safety, supervision, first aid, CPR and other manufacturing trainings.
All-Plastic uses a tiered training program, a structure the company has used "for a long time," she said. It gives new production personnel a kick-start in manufacturing.
New workers who start at the firm's most entry level positions are fast-tracked into the business with three tiers, or levels, of training, she said. Employees receive a pay raise after they complete each training.
Latiolas said she thinks manufacturing is getting "another look" from younger workers contemplating their career paths.
"Certain types of companies have continued to keep people employed, provide benefits and programs to employees," she said. "I think that's going to attract the younger talent now more than ever because they're seeing that."
"We are seeing an influx of applicants from all walks of life," Latiolais said in the release. "People are getting engaged in manufacturing and see job sustainability for the future. Not everyone gets to go to work everyday and make something that will save someone's life, we do. Its fun, interesting and challenging work."