SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) — Local leaders lauded the expansion of a welding company near downtown Salem during a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house on Thursday.
The company, Salem Welding and Supply, plans to add 8,000 square capacity and five jobs to Plant No. 2, across the street from its Prospect Street business.
Salem Welding and Supply Co. Vice President Tom Baker cut the ribbon on Thursday. Baker said he started working at the business as a kid, sweeping the floors alongside his father and grandfather, who also worked there. Back in 1975, the company was just a four-man shop, and Baker is thrilled about the recent growth.
The small manufacturing company is growing quickly, mirroring the growth of the manufacturing industry across the state. In fact, over the last six years, First News found that the manufacturing industry has added 76,000 jobs in Ohio.
Salem Welding’s current factory has about 40,000 square feet of manufacturing space for fabricating custom steel products.
Its expansion is not yet up and running, but the company says it hopes to be operating there by the end of February. When it does open, company leaders say they hope they will be able to find enough skilled workers.
“It’s very difficult,” said Baker, when asked if he thought finding labor would be a challenge.
While the state of Ohio has very business-friendly regulations — ranked fifth in that category by Forbes magazine — it ranks 47th in labor supply.
State Rep. Tim Ginter, R-Salem, said lawmakers have been looking into the issue.
“There are jobs available, but we have to get the trained workforce connected with those people that are willing to hire,” he said.