Paramount Staffing looks to fill Joliet jobs
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain email@example.com July 30, 2013 9:15PM
The Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry holds a ribbon-cutting Tuesday for Paramount Staffing at 2405 Essington Road. The office is the company's 14th location, including eight in Illinois. Pictured are (front, from left) Tina and Matt Schubert, co-owners; partner Jude Fairbank, vice president of operations; and Joliet Mayor Tom Giarrante. | Cindy Cain~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 1, 2013 6:29AM
JOLIET — The city’s unemployment rate for June was 13.5 percent, the fourth highest in the state, but the rate is probably closer to 5 percent for people who can work in skilled manufacturing, said Matt Schubert, owner of Paramount Staffing.
Paramount, which specializes in placing workers in industrial jobs, opened an office in Joliet on Tuesday to tap into the warehouse and manufacturing growth here, Schubert said. More industrial workers are retiring, and fewer young people are seeking those jobs, so the applicant pool is shrinking, he said.
“No parent, unfortunately, is pushing their kids into industrial to be a forklift driver, a lathe operator or a welder,” he said. “Truthfully, I believe these jobs will be paying $50,000, $60,000 or $80,000 in the next 10 to 15 years. The demand is going to grow, and the supply (of workers) is going to shrink.”
Paramount finds it so difficult to find forklift drivers, for instance, that the firm has set up its own 4,000-square-foot training site in Bolingbrook.
“We train people from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day and on Saturdays,” Schubert said. “So we’re doing everything we can to build our pool. We’d love to get into machinery (training), but that’s a little bit more of an investment.”
Schubert believes Joliet’s unemployment remains high because towns to the north such as Bolingbrook and Romeoville are pulling away some of the jobs. But the overall economy also is casting a big shadow here, he said.
Mayor Tom Giarrante, who attended the ribbon-cutting, said building projects, including the city’s new transportation center and Joliet Junior College’s new campus, both to be located downtown, should help boost hiring.
And while 13.5 percent unemployment is high, “I’ve lived here all my life,” Giarrante said. “And I remember when unemployment was 21 percent. So it’s high, but we’re doing what we can do.”
While overall unemployment remains higher than at pre-recession levels, there are signs the job market is coming around, Schubert said. Hiring of temporary workers is higher than it has ever been at 2.8 million nationally, with an expectation it will reach 3 million in the next year.
“Our industry has always, always been a leading indicator for the economy,” he said. “Because companies will hire temporary employees before they hire full time, and some of those temporary positions turn into full time.”
The only thing slowing the hiring process is indecisiveness in Washington, D.C., and uncertainty with new health care laws, he said.
Paramount Staffing’s Joliet office is its eighth in Illinois and 14th in the United States. Schubert, who grew up in the staffing industry, opened a branch of his father’s Labor World here on Republic Avenue in 1994 and sold it in 1997.
Potential temp workers can visit the new office at 2405 Essington Road, Suite G, to fill out applications.
“Then we try to get them to work,” Schubert said. “On a daily basis, we employ 4,500 people. And throughout the year we might employ up to 20,000 people off and on. They come and go.”
About 5 percent to 10 percent of the workers get hired full time by the companies they’re placed with.
“That might be the only way for somebody to get in the door, and that is to come through the temporary route,” Schubert said.