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OCR for page 48
Labor and workforce Every freight facility is different, but labor skills, costs, and the overall workforce environment can play a key role in location selection. While some forms of freight facilities are highly automated or do not have high skill requirements, others involve assembly, manufacturing, value-added processing, or other operations where the availability of a trained talent pool may be a significant requirement. Freight facilities can require a wide variety of employee talents, Freight facilities can require a depending upon the exact nature of the facility. Such skilled wide variety of employee talents, employees may include forklift operators, assemblers, truck drivers, depending upon the exact nature machinists, mechanics, technicians, material handling specialists, and of the facility. Skills required engineers in addition to unskilled labor. may include forklift operators, assemblers, truck drivers, In evaluating locations, companies may first examine data from the machinists, mechanics, technicians, Department of Labor and Department of Commerce regarding material handling specialists, and overall employment for a region or community. This information engineers in addition to unskilled indicates the overall labor market health of the community and may labor. also give indications as to the general level of labor costs. For example, Family Dollar partially selected a distribution center site based on the workforce characteristics in and around Marianna, Florida. Family Dollar received over 6,000 applications for the 515 available jobs. Similarly, Old Dominion, a national trucking firm, chose a site in Morristown, Tennessee, over a Nashville site primarily because of the greater availability of workforce in Morristown. The Morristown area of Tennessee has a strong furniture manufacturing history, and, at the time that Old Dominion was considering developing a regional hub, furniture manufacturing was decreasing in the area and moving overseas. This left a large pool of former manufacturing employees who were available and trainable for employment at the new distribution center. Companies may speak directly with peer companies in the local market to better understand local salary trends, best practices for attracting and retaining key talent, and to determine unionization trends. They may also examine the education infrastructure to determine overall 48 Freight Facility Location Selection: A Guide for Public Officials