SHAWANO, Wis. (NBC 26) -- Faced with a shortage of workers, some local companies are getting creative with their recruiting efforts.
"Every day is a struggle to keep every operation running," Aarrowcast Vice President of Operations Eric Hanson said.
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And in a time when almost every employer is looking to hire, iron workers like Hanson are trying to grill up more help.
"They have to do double the work, triple the work, because we are so short staffed," Hanson said.
So Hanson's employer Aarrowcast in Shawano is getting creative with its recruiting tactics, hosting a cookout job fair for prospective employees.
"We're hoping to provide a meal, have people come in and talk to us," Hanson said.
Until the iron casting company gets up to full staff, President Randy Brull says workers are putting in overtime just to catch up.
"We currently have about 240 employees," Brull said. "And we could hire 50 more tomorrow to help meet our customer demand."
But in an effort to attract help, Brull says Aarrowcast raised it's starting wage to $17.50 an hour.
"We've tried recruiting through social media, through normal applications, we've even done pay raises," Brull said. "And we're trying to be a little creative here."
And the company is paying employees more just to show up.
"[There are] bonuses just for attendance, plus bonuses or incentives for performance," Brull said.
While Hanson works to fill in the gaps, he says his company needs anyone to step up to the plate.
"We don't really care where anybody's coming from, we just need help," he said.
Aarrowcast is hiring for entry level and skilled positions.
Compared to January 2020 before the pandemic, the employment rate for Wisconsin's high earners has surged more than 10 percent. For its middle workers, it's up 6.7 percent.
But among Wisconsin's low-wage workers -- people who make less than $27,000 -- employment rates are down nearly 10 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels.