Have you heard the secret? There are great paying jobs in Morgan County.

Written By: Robin Reid

There are amazing, great paying, high tech jobs in Morgan County that don’t require a 4-year college degree.  Not everyone has the right image of today’s advanced manufacturing shops.

Over the last 50 years, Overton Industries in Mooresville has become a full-service machine shop producing quality tools for Fortune 500 companies and more.

There are no dirty floors or the smell of grease or dimly lit rooms or guys turning cranks. Today’s businesses are super clean, well-lit, and machinists are using computers to operate machines that are supplying some of the most advanced industries in the world using multi-million dollar equipment and space-age materials.  Just ask Jeff Haggard.

Jeff Haggard, Vice President of Industrial Sales at Haggard & Stocking and a Morgan County native, believes awareness about manufacturing jobs is the biggest challenge currently. According to Haggard, most high schools are set up to prepare students for college but lack the knowledge and resources about other job opportunities for kids who don’t pursue higher education.

Jeff Haggard, a Morgan County native working in manufacturing, says there are great paying jobs available to high school graduates.

“We need employees who are good in math and science as much of our work is high tech,” added Haggard.

“There are some great careers in manufacturing that require only a two-year associate degree. Many companies offer an internship where they pay for high school graduates to be trained at a technical school such as Ivy Tech,” Haggard said. “When I see a young person working in my field, whether it’s in sales or working in a machine shop, I ask them how they got into the field so I can share their stories to attract others. Manufacturing is the backbone of our nation and without young people coming into this industry, we’ll have to start outsourcing more.”

Haas Automation is the largest CNC machine tool builder in the US and is also a generous supporter of the Martinsville High School Precision Machining Technology Program. “The Gene Haas Foundation provides scholarships to help students go to technical schools such as Vincennes, University, Ivy Tech, Lincoln Tech, and others,” said Haggard. “Graduates can go into the manufacturing workforce almost debt-free and at the same starting salary as someone who graduated from a four-year college.”

Haggard is thankful Martinsville High School (MHS) continues to offer the Skilled Trades program where students can learn how to work on vehicles (mechanics), machines, woodworking, and more. He is a member of the MHS Precision Machining Technology Program Advisory Board, comprised of representatives from various local companies, which supplies this program with whatever it needs, from equipment to curriculum to tools.

On the left is Paul Dow, owner of Dow Construction, and Kevin Kent (right), a teacher in the Machining class at Martinsville High School. Dow’s son graduated from MHS last year and is enrolled in Vincennes University’s machining technology program.

“This is a fantastic program as it’s showing kids alternative job opportunities that are available to them. Carl Wagner in the Success Center has done a good job talking with students about other options besides going to college,” added Haggard. “In our industry, we need to work with our educators and counselors so they can teach parents and students about these incredible career paths.”

Haggard has worked in his family business since he was “old enough to push a broom”. His father, Herb Haggard, started the business in 1972 with three product lines. Today, Haggard & Stocking has over 1,500 different product lines, a workforce of over 120 employees, and locations in Indiana, Waco (TX), and Greensboro (NC). Haggard & Stocking is an industrial cutting tool-house focused on fasteners, safety products, material handling, general cutting tools and more.

“We are a one-stop-shop for factories, machines shops, fabricators and anyone that makes anything. We also provide technical expertise. We help them make their products more efficiently, quicker and safer,” Haggard said. “You can’t be two feet away from anything that hasn’t been made by a toolmaker someway, somehow, and those are the people I work with. We’re instrumental in getting parts made. Everything around us has either been tooled or machined.”

To learn more about manufacturing job opportunities, please contact Carl Wagner, Senior Success Center Director at Martinsville High School, (765) 342-5571 ext. 4263 or carl.wagner@msdmartinsville.org.

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