The RV industry big wigs got together Thursday (May 3) morning for a pat on the back for how well the industry is doing. As reported by WNDU, it’s all part of the RV Industry Power Breakfast, which is a lot more about the power than the breakfast.
Senators, representatives and the heads of the industry had a lot to say about the momentum the RV industry has had in the last decade, but it isn’t all good news.
Indiana’s unemployment is so low, RV companies can’t find enough people to fill the job openings. The industry is still growing, being 2% of the nations GDP, but it never seems to have enough people.
“This is a systemic issue within the entire country,” RV Industry Association (RVIA) President Frank Hugelmeyer said. “Manufacturing sectors are not seeing as many people choosing that as a career. And you can make great money right now coming in either building RVs, going into the industry from a career choice. Or even repairing RVs at dealerships all around the country. We’re trying to get that story out because every industry is trying to compete for technical labor and we’re no different.”
So it’s a little curious that Winnebago is bringing in 120 new jobs to its Middlebury campus thanks to a new towable operation building that just broke ground hours after the breakfast.
With this new towable operations facility being built, the Middlebury campus is increasing its workforce by nearly 50%. Winnebago agrees it’s definitely a challenge. By living in the ‘RV Capital of the World,’ there are a lot of people trained for the job living nearby and possibly working at competing facilities. Their plan to get those jobs filled is to be the most attractive business around.
“As we’re potentially gaining market share in the RV industry, we have the ability, at times, to potentially have some folks that used to work at some of the RV companies come to work for us,” Winnebago Industries President and CEO Mike Happe said. “We get a blend of new employees. Of those who have been in the RV industry for a long time and those that are new to the industry as well. So it’s always a mix. And again, as long as we’re growing faster than the industry and taking share, we should have the ability to potentially attract more employees to our business.”
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