ExacTech Recruiting Welders with Paid, On-the-job Training

Made in Door County

A shortage of workers who have specific skills has caused some local manufacturers to get creative with their recruitment efforts.

Such is the case with ExacTech at 107 E. Walnut St. in Sturgeon Bay. The company is paying to train people to become welders, with no prior welding experience required.

ExacTech general manager Jason Nessinger said the metal-fabrication facility began the 90-day, paid, on-the-job training program this summer when three people successfully completed the course to become welders for the company.

ExacTech is part of Marine Travelift, a builder of boat-handling equipment; and Shuttlelift, a maker of rubber-tired gantry cranes and a metal fabricator for both.

Nessinger said the training program, which runs Monday-Friday, 6:45 am – 3:15 pm, was the idea of company president and CEO Erich Pfeifer to deal with a shortage of welders. ExacTech could use 10 more welders for two shifts when employees are currently working overtime.

The program, which has four people training this fall to become welders, is taught by a couple of existing ExacTech employees who have 15-plus years of experience.

Photo by Rachel Lukas.

“This program includes a small amount of classroom learning with mostly hands-on welding training,” Nessinger said. “In addition, attendees will learn rigging, become forklift certified and get machinery training.”

Nessigner said the program starts the participants at $15 an hour during the training, and once they pass their welding tests, they will be moved up to $20-$22 an hour with full benefits, which include vacation, paid holidays and entry into the company’s semiannual discretionary bonus program.

“The only cost to the participant is steel-toed boots, which will be fully reimbursed at the end of the program,” he said.

Nessinger said the training program can take as many as six people at once, and though this fall marks only the second time the program has been offered, he expects it will continue indefinitely, given the company’s need for welders.

ExacTech currently has 67 shop employees. For the past two years, it has handled metal-fabrication work only for Marine Travelift and Shuttlelift because their equipment is now in high demand with customers around the world. Nessigner said the company previously did metal-fabrication work for mining equipment when it wasn’t as busy with work for Marine Travelift and Shuttlelift. 

ExacTech’s History

ExacTech started in Port Washington in 1992 when the company  performed some contract work for Marine Travelift. In 2003, ExacTech purchased Marine Travelift and Amerifab in Sturgeon Bay. In 2006, the Amerifab facility expanded to its current footprint and was renamed ExacTech, at which point the Port Washington ExacTech facility moved operations to Sturgeon Bay.

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