Curtis Marler, the laboratory manager at Linde Electronics & Specialty Gases in Phillipsburg, NJ, a division of Linde Gas North America, LLC, is very picky about who he hires for entry-level positions at the Linde plant—and with good reason.
The Linde plant makes specialty gases for use in the manufacture and/or operation of computer chips, satellite propulsion, laser vision-correction technology, flat-panel TVs, LED lights and many other applications. Some of the world’s largest semiconductor companies are among its customers.
In hiring new employees, Marler looks for individuals who have the work ethic, drive, passion, smarts and experience to play their part in the success of the Phillipsburg plant and its ultimate parent company, Linde AG, the world’s largest gases and engineering company, with more than 65,000 employees in 100 countries.
Enter Frank Pinheiro. Unemployed for months after his losing his job with a Pennsylvania medical tubing manufacturer, he interviewed twice with Marler for an open lab-tech position. After the second interview, Marler knew he had found the right man.
“He had a lot of the qualities I look for as a hiring manager for Linde,” Marler said in an interview at Warren County Community College (WCCC), which played an important role in the hiring and training process through the Ready to Work New Jersey (RTWNJ) program run by the NJ Community College Consortium for Education and Workforce Development. “This guy was a perfect fit.”
Through Maija Amaro, a workforce training specialist with the college, and Jaci Teune, one of the Consortium’s Ready-to-Work coordinators, Marler learned about the RTWNJ program, which ultimately funded initial on-the-job training for Pinheiro at Linde.
Ready to Work is a federal funded program connects the long-term unemployed with employers who need their skills and experience. The Consortium maintains a large database of job seekers and employers, which it uses to make good matches. It also screens prospective job recruits and provides the hiring employer with wage reimbursement of up to $10,000 for initial on-the-job training of their new employee.
“One of the greatest challenges facing companies today is finding people with the right skills, experience and personality to fill open positions,” said Consortium CEO Sivaraman Anbarasan. “There’s a huge skills gap not only in manufacturing, but in many other industries. Ready to Work is designed to close that gap.”
For his part, Frank is delighted to be supporting his family of six by working at the Linde’s Phillipsburg plant, which offers excellent pay and benefits, as well as opportunities to move up in a thriving business. As a lab analyst, he checks batches of manufactured gas to ensure they fit customer specifications.
“I’ve been here a month now. I love the place,” Pinheiro said. “The people here are great. They trained me perfectly fine.”
This story was originally published in the January 2016 issue of New Jersey Business, the magazine of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association. The author is Christopher Biddle, President of Biddle Communications & Public Relations.