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City of Harvard seeks welders, trainees for proposed factory

Wisconsin manufacturer looking to expand

McHenry County College’s Young-Adult Student Success Program graduate Jonathan Sandoval demonstrates welding techniques at the welding center in Woodstock. The program helps 18- to 24-year-olds become self-sufficient with higher-paying occupations in manufacturing and health care.
McHenry County College’s Young-Adult Student Success Program graduate Jonathan Sandoval demonstrates welding techniques at the welding center in Woodstock. The program helps 18- to 24-year-olds become self-sufficient with higher-paying occupations in manufacturing and health care.

A Wisconsin manufacturer plans to expand its operations to Harvard and the city is seeking to certify welders ahead of its move.

Harvard will work with McHenry County College, McHenry County Workforce Development, the Harvard Economic Development Corp. and Harvard School District 50 to develop a pipeline for people to become certified in welding, Harvard Mayor Michael Kelly said.

The company, which hasn’t been publicly named, wants to expand its footprint to Illinois and build a factory that would create 30 to 50 manufacturing jobs in Harvard.

“Representatives from [Harvard] recently met with the company to understand the roadblocks and create a plan to help bring the company to Harvard,” Kelly said. “The program details are still being worked out.”

The city wants to find 30 Harvard residents who are looking for a career change, willing to attend eight to 12 weeks of training and pass qualification requirements and can begin working at the proposed factory.

The job would provide health insurance, 401k benefits, annual bonuses and offers $18 an hour with second- and third-shift differentials, Kelly said.

“Harvard was chosen for a number of reasons, including easy logistics to move product fabricated in Harvard to their Wisconsin location for further processing, and existing economic incentives which will be provided through the Harvard Woodstock Enterprise Zone and new benefits which will be realized from the newly designated Federal Opportunity Zone,” Kelly said.

Certified welders have a chance to apply soon. More information will be available after June 20, Kelly said.

Details for the training program and application process haven’t been set yet. Interested parties can email Kelly at mayor@cityofharvard.org with a name, phone number and email address to be added to the database.

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