Heartland RV in Elkhart has announced it will hire more than 400 workers by the end of the first quarter in 2010 because of a recent spike in sales.
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November 17, 2009
Elkhart, IN - While there is still a long way left to go, large chunks of jobs continue to come back to Elkhart County.
Heartland RV in Elkhart announced Tuesday that they'll be hiring 400 workers by next March.
Heartland says they've seen a spike in sales in the last quarter of this year; enough that they now have a healthy back log of orders.
As you might expect, the job announcement clogged the entryway to heartland RV Tuesday.
But instead of an application, folks were handed another slip of paper by the gate attendant.
“(It’s a note) letting people know that they're having a job fair now instead of, in the paper, they said they were hiring now,” said Richard Ottinger, one of the many job seekers that visited the company Tuesday.
Heartland says they're already in the process of hiring 200 workers and are not currently accepting applications.
They'll start taking them again on December 1st, for the other 200 jobs, which will also be in production.
There's a job fair December 5th from 8:00am to noon for all interested applicants; and there's sure to be a crowd.
“Anything you can get right now. It's pretty hard to get a job out here so (you try for) anything you can, especially when the factory's hiring,” said Jerry Clark, another job seeker.
The chamber of commerce is happy to see RV jobs, too.
“You mean jobs are being created in that industry that everybody said was dead?” Kyle Hannon said, laughing. He’s with the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce.
“We didn’t write off the RV industry, I don’t think anybody that was thinking about this truly did,” Hannon said.
While each job announcement only covers a small percentage of the people that need to get back to work, additions are becoming more common.
“It's pretty exciting I mean the jobs are starting to pile up a little bit,” Hannon said.
As far as I’m concerned it doesn’t have to be that big. As small as it is, it's a start… I think things are turning around, slowly but surely,” Clark said.
Hannon says he’s also relieved to see established companies coming back, after they’d been cutting back.
“I think they've just been looking for the opportunities to hire back some of the workers that they let go, and I think now they're getting that opportunity,” Hannon said.
Hannon said that while Elkhart County still leads the state in unemployment, he thinks the level will continue to drop as it has for six months, thanks in part to announcements like these.
He estimates Elkhart's rate will drop below number one in the state in the next four months.
Meantime, Heartland RV says they're set to announce five new brands of trailers and fifth-wheels at the RV show in Louisville next month.
These job additions, set to be filled by the end of the first quarter of 201, will bring their workforce up to about 1200 people.