News & Events
As the IRC in Missoula enters its eighth year of operation, we continue to welcome new Americans primarily from the Congo, Afghanistan, and Syria into Montana. As part of the core services provided to all newly arriving families, the Economic Empowerment Team at the IRC in Missoula works diligently to secure job placements for adults. They network with local businesses to cultivate job opportunities so families can earn an income and become economically self-sufficient. There are many wonderful businesses in Missoula that have welcomed the people we serve into their workforces. The IRC employment team works closely with individuals to understand their professional and financial goals. IRC staff then work with employers to place people in roles that align with their goals, work experience, and language proficiency. The majority of individuals receiving employment services from the IRC have found positions in retail, manufacturing, food service, and childcare.
Zohair Bajwa is the head recruiter for Marathon Staffing, an agency that partners with a local Bonner business, UFP Industries. UFP Industries has been employing individuals served by the IRC for several years, providing them with job opportunities and pathways for continual growth.
Zohair immigrated to Missoula from Pakistan in 2006 to pursue higher education at the University of Montana. Since 2021, Zohair has made it his mission to support the refugee and immigrant community in Montana, hiring over 20 refugees in the past year and a half.
Employing refugees is incredibly rewarding, and there are learning curves for employers and employees alike! New challenges, such as language barriers, can require patience and understanding to work through. Despite these challenges, Zohair said, “the benefit of their work ethic far outweighs any momentary setbacks.” He has taken great satisfaction seeing our newest community members go from not speaking a word of English to being proficient just from their exposure at UFP Industries. Not only that, but several of them have been promoted to shift leaders with the chance to directly supervise other refugees and help them advance their English skills.
Zohair reflected, “If someone is going to be a good employee, why wouldn’t I give them a chance?”
Through his work at Marathon and UFP Industries, Zohair has been consistently impressed by the “professionalism and unwavering willingness to work to become successful” displayed by those he has hired. He has experienced continued loyalty and gratitude from UFP Industries’ newest employees who value a clear avenue to advance professionally.
His advice to all other employers who are considering hiring refugees is to “have patience, trust the system, trust them, and they will do whatever it takes to become successful and make your organization successful.”
We want to thank Marathon staffing, UFP Industries, and Zohair for their continued partnership, support, and advocacy in giving new families professional opportunities to thrive in Montana.
Blog post reposted with permission from International Rescue Committee
October is recognized as Manufacturing Month to further highlight Manufacturing Day, which took place the first Friday of the month (10/06).
MFG Day was first celebrated on 2012 by The Manufacturing Institute, an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers, who create and continue to organize this annual event. The purpose of this initiative is to bring attention to the steps the manufacturing sector is taking to support its workforce through training and collaborative opportunities.
Manufacturing Month is organized by U.S. Commercial Service and Federal Export Promotion partner agencies to further recognize Manufacturing’s impact on a national and international level.
According to the U.S. International Trade Administration, the manufacturing sector employs close to 13 million workers, as of August 2022. Our team is happy to be part of this growing group.
Marathon Staffing has over 30 years of experience working with manufacturing partners in a variety of areas, and we understand the industry’s unique needs.
We appreciate our team members and employer partners for their continued collaboration in the month of October and throughout the year.
Earlier this month Marathon Staffing celebrated National Staffing Employee Week held from September 11th to September 17th. As part of our core mission, we endeavor to show our appreciation and assist our team members each and every day.
The contributions of staffing employees are critical to the success of businesses, non-profit organizations, and government entities across the U.S.
As a way to recognize and show our appreciation to our team members, we held a special raffle for various gift cards.
We are pleased to announce our 2023 National Staffing Employee Week raffle winners: Edward A. of Arizona, Ali I. of Montana, Rachel C. of Nevada, Jalran S. of Pennsylvania, Torey Y. of South Carolina, and Alfreda R. of Texas!
We extend our gratitude to these team members and to the nearly 20,000 employees who are part of the Marathon team on a yearly basis.
Chief Operating Officer
Marathon is happy to share that it will be exhibiting at Booth #211 at this year’s Food Automation & Manufacturing Symposium and Expo taking place in Bonita Springs, Florida (Oct 11-13)!
Leading food and beverage companies will be in attendance, including organizations in engineering, automation, sustainability, supply chain, and food safety.
A few sessions we are especially excited about include:
1. The Art of the Possible (Oct 12th at 8:15 AM)
Organizations are turning to technology to address operational challenges and to improve current processes. With more options being introduced to the market, finding the right solutions that fit companies’ unique needs is important.
2. Overcoming the Perfect Storm with Flexibility, Innovation, and State-of-the-Art Technology (Oct 12th at 9:15 AM)
In this session, we will hear a real-world example of how to effectively and efficiently build and develop a manufacturing facility’s operations following FDA regulations. Including balancing different co-existing considerations including keeping a sense of urgency, flexibility, innovation, and technological needs.
3. How To Use Foresights To Navigate Technology Drivers That Produce Products Consumers Want (Oct 13th at 9:10 AM)
The connection between consumer behavioral changes and new products will be discussed in this session. Evolving consumer needs means that companies must become informed of what market shifts may potentially impact them or those that could provide opportunities for growth.
We look forward to hearing from other fellow industry professionals regarding technological and regulation changes, and how teams are adapting in an ever-evolving industry.
Many employers know that the hiring landscape has changed significantly just in the last few years, leaving organizations asking themselves how they should change up their current processes to address these shifts.
While every business is different, there are some general best practices that hiring and Human Resources personnel can use to identify and address unique challenges.
Steps your organization can take to have an effective hiring process:
#1 – Communication is Key
Maintaining strong communication with candidates throughout the recruiting process will contribute towards a great first impression for potential employees.
Reach out to candidates as soon as reasonable. This will not only limit any operational obstructions but will also let the candidates know that your organization is interested in getting them to the next stage of the recruiting process. This could be the difference between them accepting a job offer with your organization or a competing offer.
Additionally, diversifying recruitment channels will maximize the number of job seekers you reach. Not everyone spends their time on the same social media channels, and this also applies when it comes to job search.
By only focusing on one avenue, your organization may be limiting the number of people that come across its content and job opportunities.
#2 – Embrace Technology Where You Can
Look into technology that can be incorporated into the hiring process, such as automation tools. Automation together with outsourcing can provide more time for the team to focus on their core responsibilities.
By incorporating automated responses or self-scheduling tools, hiring personnel can use the time they save from manually performing these tasks on other activities.
#3 – Look at Areas of Opportunity
Identify which parts of recruiting and onboarding can be improved. Is your organization reaching the ideal candidates? Are there any obstructions in the candidate’s journey?
For example, having an unclear application process may be affecting peoples’ experiences and the organization could be losing out on great candidates as a result. Understanding issues like these may only be possible by providing some sort of survey to employees and candidates in order to gain their perspective.
No matter what the pain points are, the talent acquisition process must keep the job market and the job seekers in mind.
As an employer, focus on candidate engagement and the resources that can assist with this. Staying up to date with job market and industry changes will offer insights that will help your organization make more timely and impactful decisions.
Jobs have changed significantly in the last few decades, and so have workforce patterns. From increased career mobility to shifts in job requirements, today’s labor market is ever-changing.
The good news is that professionals who want to move into different roles now have numerous channels at their disposal, especially online.
Most people change jobs more than a dozen times throughout their lifetimes, therefore, the skills and knowledge acquired through training and experience may end up being applied in a variety of ways.
It can be difficult to predict what the landscape will look like in the future, but there are ways to better your chances as a job seeker:
- Stay Informed on New Developments
One of the best ways to remain competitive in the job market is to be aware of changes and opportunities that you could benefit from. This includes on-the-job training, webinars, or any other certifications that can be helpful for your role or any future career paths you are interested in.
- Lean Into Transferrable Skills
The expertise you gain may not only be applicable to the position or organization you are currently in, but it may also set you up for other opportunities. When reviewing job postings, think about how your professional background overlaps with these roles. This will provide you with starting points to positively present yourself as a top candidate.
Part of the changes that the labor market has undergone includes the channels employers use to source and attract candidates. As a result, finding and applying to jobs has become more accessible with these digital tools. However, connections made through networking continue to be the most effective way to stand out as a job seeker.
- Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Anyone looking to make a career or job switch needs to consider what areas they would like to go into, but at the same time be open to other relevant opportunities. Keep in mind that the jobs you pursue today can further benefit you professionally for future positions by offering new skills and experiences.
- Don’t Stress Over Your Qualifications
Keep in mind that in order to apply for a position, you do not need to meet all of the listed requirements. In many instances, hiring teams are looking to have employees who will be a good fit for their organizations rather than solely focusing on a checklist of requirements that need to be met.
On-the-job training and other professional growth opportunities are great ways to supplement your current experience.
Doing your research can provide much-needed guidance as you prepare to step into a new role or industry.
Preparing for an interview? Learn more about Behavioral Interview Questions.