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We’re Hiring: Job Opportunities to Explore in Sheboygan, WI

Here are six hiring trends to watch out for as you consider a new career in Sheboygan.

By Heather Cherry on May 9, 2023

Old Wisconsin
Courtesy of Sheboygan County EDC

Sheboygan, Wisconsin, is known for its strong manufacturing culture thanks to large multi-generational, family-owned companies headquartered there.

This offers the perfect opportunity for someone looking to start or grow their career — and the data speaks for itself. In 2021, Sargento Foods, known for its cheese, hired over 300 employees, and they’re still sourcing for many positions. And neighboring food manufacturer Johnsonville also has added to its workforce and manufacturing capabilities.

We talked to a few local experts about jobs in Sheboygan, WI, and here’s what they had to say about industries and hiring trends there.

1. Workforce development remains a focus.

Workforce development continues to be a primary focus throughout Sheboygan County. This is because employers agree that workforce development improves their company culture but also the community.

“We started the journey of workforce development several years ago before there was a labor market and talent war,” says Portia Young, director of corporate public relations at Sargento. “We knew this was going to be key to the success of our future and the community.”

Anne Troka, senior manager of community and workforce development at Sargento, says the company noticed the trend toward the “robot revolution” in 2016. “We knew there would be fewer people in the workforce and there would be a rise in the use of technology to make more efficiencies — the pandemic accelerated that,” says Troka. “But because we had already invested in workforce development, we were positioned well for building our talent, starting with our employees who wanted to grow within the company.”

Manufacturing (Sheboygan)
Courtesy of Sheboygan County EDC

2. Food manufacturing dominates the employment market.

Troka says the food and beverage industry will likely continue to dominate the employment market in 2023, at least throughout Sheboygan.

“During the economic downturns of 2008 and 2020, the food and beverage industry not only survived but thrived. That is one huge benefit of Sheboygan County — we have many private family-owned companies in the food and beverage industry that truly invest in their people and their community. That’s what makes Sheboygan County such a strong place to live,” Troka says.

“The large food manufacturing base helped Wisconsin during the pandemic,” Young says. “We’re very diversified and have great food manufacturers here in Sheboygan — it’s a great industry to be in.”

Johnsonville’s domestic and international sales of its fully cooked sausage product portfolio have increased significantly over the past few years, maxing out manufacturing capacity at its headquarters in Johnsonville. This led the family-owned company to purchase a 190,000-square-foot facility from Wigwam Mills.

“This is the first manufacturing facility in Sheboygan for Johnsonville,” says Stephanie Schafer, associate director-earned media at Johnsonville. “The newest and high-tech equipment has been installed, and about 50 members will be employed in production, sanitation, maintenance, shipping and receiving positions. We anticipate employing 100 members by 2025 to address future growth in our fully cooked sausage portfolio.”

3. Operations jobs are plentiful.

Sargento has more than 2,300 employees, 75% of which are operations based — including manufacturing, production, maintenance and commercial licensed drivers (CDL) — and 25% are critical core positions in the office.

“We’re hiring for all disciplines of work,” says Lora Melanick, associate director of employee experience at Sargento. “Our main focus is on hourly operations employees. That market has become tight in Sheboygan County because everyone is hiring. We’re also looking for information technology talent — but CDL drivers remain a high priority.”

If you’re interested in something that combines operations and technology, there are plenty of opportunities. Paul Carlsen, president of Lakeshore Technical College, says they’re seeing exponential growth opportunities in advanced manufacturing.

“There is strong enrollment and interest in the electro-mechanical technician program,” Carlsen says. “As the labor market continues to tighten, more companies are investing in automation. The electro-mechanical technician program prepares students to set up, operate and repair robots you may see on manufacturing floors.”

Nursing photos Sheboygan
Courtesy of Sheboygan County EDC

4. Health care continues to be a vital industry.

Like most places, health care jobs continue to be in demand in Sheboygan.

“We continue to see a demand for all our health care graduates,” Carlsen says. “There is an increased need for registered nurses and certified nursing assistants — especially as that workforce continues to age out.”

5. Industries collaborate for the benefit of the community.

There is a lack of silos in Sheboygan, which has led to great collaboration and problem-solving across industries. For example, some of the largest manufacturing employers are working to create more affordable housing for future generations. In addition to housing initiatives, industries continue to invest in health care.

“Large employers rally around major hospitals to help them grow. They understand that if they’re going to attract and retain their workforce, those workers will expect a high quality of life, and one part of that is health care.”

Paul Carlsen, Lakeshore Technical College

6. Total compensation is more competitive than ever.

In response to the competitive job market in Sheboygan, companies are making their total compensation packages better than ever to attract and retain top talent. For example, Sargento opted to restructure their shift-work requirements, increasing flexibility for employees.

“We’ve changed our shift structure and have various offerings at different locations. Our 12-hour shift option working three days on and four days off has been great and has hit a different market,” says Melanick. “If someone is looking for a growth opportunity at a better wage than you’d see in a part-time retail job, they can work that shift and still receive benefits.”

Additionally, companies continue to offer competitive vacation packages, add-ons and health and wellness incentives. For example, Sargento has the nation’s top 1% 401K package and a tuition assistance program.

“With our tuition assistance program, employees can pursue a degree in whatever field they choose — even if they want to become a teacher or a nurse,” Young says. “Gaining a degree helps them grow with us or in the community — either way, it helps us all.”

This article was sponsored by the Sheboygan County EDC.

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