SCOTTSVILLE — For every person added to the Dart Container Corporation workforce in Hart County, three leave, a company official said about the issues of seeking employees in a rural area.
Recruiting workers in a rural area presents unique difficulties.
"It is a challenge," said Millie Ortiz, human relations manager for Dart in Horse Cave. Ortiz spoke Wednesday at the Barren River Area P-16 Council meeting at the Allen County University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Office.
Dart is the largest employer in Hart County with 1,470 employees working in a 3-million-square-foot facility. The operation opened in 1980 and has expanded six times. Horse Cave has fewer than 3,000 residents.
The Horse Cave facility manufactures a host of food container products used by restaurants, coffee shops, health care facilities and the food packaging industry. Dart products from Horse Cave also appear on the shelves of many retail operations.
Ortiz said the company started with 20 employees.
One challenge for companies with large workforces in rural areas is attendance.
"People don't know that they have to show up for work," Ortiz said. Potential employees either decline to take a drug test or if they take one, they fail it, she said.
"There's a lack of commitment," Ortiz added, noting employees might start to work at the plant but when their federal tax refund check arrives, they are out the door in March or April.
Ortiz said Dart wants to change the culture of employees and eliminate issues such as a internal cultural clash between older and younger workers. The median age of employees is 45.
Math skills, particularly those required to pass a three-dimensional accounting test, are necessary, she said. The test asks a potential employee to calculate how many boxes are in several pallets on a warehouse area floor. Seventy-five percent of the applicants fail the 3D accounting test, she said.
In another matter, the council selected Superintendent Sean Howard of the Glasgow Independent School district as its new chairman. Superintendent Rob Clayton of the Warren County Public Schools was elected vice chairman. Stepping down as chairman is Superintendent Bo Matthews of Barren County Schools.