Dot Foods Seeks To Attract Women To Warehouse Jobs To Meet Demand

Food-distribution giant Dot Foods Inc., has formed "Women of the Warehouse" to try and help attract women to jobs traditionally held by men.

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Demand for warehouse workers from forklift operators to package handlers should remain strong through at least 2022, based on long-term employment projections from the state of Illinois, according to The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill.

The result of that trend at food-distribution giant Dot Foods Inc. of Mount Sterling was formation early this year of Women of the Warehouse to help attract women to jobs traditionally held by men. At Lincoln Land Community College, 25 of 34 long-term unemployed in a transportation, distribution and logistics program landed full-time jobs at $10 to $22.68 per hour with benefits, according to program coordinators.

In addition to physical stamina, Springfield food distributor MJ Kellner Co. includes reading comprehensive, math and computer skills among warehouse qualifications.

"The demand is still there, and these are full-time jobs," said Anne Schneider, executive director of the Land of Lincoln Workforce Alliance-Illinois Worknet Center in Springfield.

State long-term employment projections are for creation of 29,600 "material moving" jobs from 2012 to 2022. According to federal labor figures, nationwide wages in the industry averaged $18.51 an hour for 39.5 hours a week in January.

A two-year, $271,970 federal grant paid for the addition of the warehouse-logistics training to an existing commercial truck-driving program at Lincoln Land.

Schneider said the alliance selected transportation and warehouse logistics for a grant application based on state employment projections, and as a result of steady demand from distribution facilities across the region. Springfield, she said, is near the center of that network with its ready interstate access.

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