By Sarah Ritter for The Quad City Times
John Deere is opening its doors to students more often, according to Director of Labor Relations David Ottavianelli, hoping to attract a new generation of manufacturing workers. As the manufacturing sector grows and unemployment continues to drop, he said Deere is trying to be proactive to meet future hiring needs.
“This is not just a John Deere issue. There are a number of partners throughout our community that are in the same situation,” Ottavianelli said. “We know in the long-term with the increase in manufacturing jobs and retirement of baby boomers across the nation, there’s going to be an increased need for manufacturing roles.”
Advanced manufacturing is Iowa’s largest industry, employing over 213,000 people, representing around 14 percent of the workforce, according to the Iowa Economic Development Authority. In the Quad-Cities, the manufacturing sector makes up more than 17 percent of the local laborshed, according to a 2016 report by the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce.