CEP JOBS Team Visits Rosewood Machine and Tool
Champaign Economic Partnership
The Champaign Economic Partnership has created the JOBS (Jobs, Opportunities, Buildings and Space) Team, which visits local businesses to discover what they need to help maintain or expand operations and jobs in Champaign County.
The team’s most recent visit was to Rosewood Machine and Tool (RMT) Company in Rosewood.
RMT was founded in 1970 by Duane Helman, a machinist, programmer and farmer who opened the business around his interest in tractor repair. He added machining to the business in 1972, after ending his tractor repair services.
His son Jeff Helman, now Vice President and Plant Manager, joined the company full-time in 1982. And Jeff’s brother, Jon Helman, also Vice President and Plant Manager, joined in 1984.
The company has grown ever since. “Honda has been a major influence on us, along with KTH Parts Industries.” And they serve customers throughout Ohio and other states.
“We’re not the average machine shop. Because of our size (about 45 employees), our pricing structure is higher than smaller companies,” Jeff says. RMT serves as a single-source vendor, machining small or production quantities of parts, tooling, and making custom equipment. “We specialize in more difficult parts for difficult situations. That’s our niche.”
Workforce is a chief concern for RMT, as it is for many employers. Many of RMT’s employees start as janitorial workers. That’s because RMT likes to train and promote machinists from within, Jeff explains.
“Everybody here is a success story. I started pushing a broom (at age 10) and now I’m a VP.”
He appreciates that CEP has helped bring businesses and schools together to better prepare students for the workforce. RMT keeps in touch with local schools, he said. “We keep our eye out for kids who have a mechanical aptitude and may not be interested in college.”
RMT offers internships for students who start out part-time helping with custodial work, since machine operators must be at least 18. Through internships, he said, “you have a good shot of getting them here at 18.”
He adds, “We’re looking for that spark of talent and we look for work ethic and students who can work with people.”
Sometimes parents need convincing about manufacturing careers. “There’s a stigma: ‘I don’t want my kid working in a factory.’” But, he adds, “As a machinist you can make more than many college graduates.”
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