By Lisa Fink, USA TODAY Alabama steel industry consultant Lisa Fisk says it takes “years of education and training” for new steel workers to get their hands on a job in the industry.
Fisk, who also runs the Southern Appalachian Steel Association, says many steel workers are “embarrassed and discouraged” to learn about the job and can’t help but feel “emboldened” by the prospect of a career in the steel industry.
“It’s a really good opportunity for people who don’t know about it,” she said.
“But I also think it’s an opportunity for some of the older workers who may be thinking about retiring, but haven’t really been exposed to it.”
Fisk said she and other steel industry consultants regularly interview candidates for jobs in the region, and some of those interviews are held in the local steel mills.
Fink said she often asks about experience in the area and how she could help.
She also suggests that candidates be willing to learn a little bit about the steel and metals industry before applying.
She said the interview process can be “very daunting” for those who are not used to being on the other side of the interview.
“You know, if you’re not a seasoned industry professional, it’s difficult,” she added.
“But I think it does open up a lot of opportunities for you.”
But Fisk said her organization’s role in helping to recruit new steel industry workers is also a critical one.
She pointed to several groups that have been helping to identify qualified candidates and provide training in the process.
The American Federation of Government Employees, the American Iron and Steel Institute and the National Association of Manufacturers have all participated in the hiring process, and the groups are also sponsoring training seminars for people applying for the job.
“We’re really trying to connect with people and educate them,” Fisk told USA TODAY.
“And that’s part of what we’re doing.”