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Pass a drug test and get a real job

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Local industries struggling to find people who can pass a drug test

By Stephen Lega

Marion County industries are looking for employees, but they're having trouble filling positions because applicants are failing drug tests, according to discussions at last week's industrial foundation board meeting.

Marion County Economic Development Director Tom Lund said TG Kentucky is in the process of hiring 100 employees, but it is struggling to fill those positions. Karen King, resource specialist for the economic development office, added that they are looking for enough people who can pass a drug test.

And the problem isn't exclusive to TG Kentucky. King said a different company reported that only two of 10 applicants were able to pass a drug test.

Larry Tatum said that John Turner (of Angell Demmel) has told him that he was losing personnel as a result of random drug testing of current employees, and Denise Thomas added that Spring View Hospital was having trouble finding individuals to fill housekeeping positions.

Lebanon Mayor Gary Crenshaw added that the city had to let two people go for failed drug tests a few years ago.

"It's terrible and we're not alone. It's statewide," King said.

George Spragens asked if the problem was prescription drugs.

"It's everything," King said.

Thomas added that some companies have started using more strict tests, which pick up more types of drugs, and others are using hair tests, which measure possible drug use for a longer period of time than a urine test.

The difficulty filling positions isn't entirely due to drug use, however.

King said for an entry-level position at one local factory, applicants must complete a four-part written test, and the applicants must pass one part before they are given the next part. If someone passes all four written parts, then the applicant is given a test that requires them to assemble things. Only if they pass that test are they given an interview, and if they have a successful interview, then they are given a personality test.

"There's six steps to get an entry-level position," King said.

Toward the end of the meeting, King also mentioned that the economic development office is putting together a job fair, possibly for later this month. She said seven local industries are looking to fill approximately 200 positions.

According to the Marion County Economic Development's website, www.marioncountyky.com, the following industries have immediate job openings available:

- American Wood Fiber

- Angell Demmel

- Canton Cooperage

- Curtis Maruyasu

- Joy Mining Machinery

- Kentucky Cooperage

- Marion Adjustment Center

- Montebello Packaging

- R.L. Schreiber, Inc.

- TG Kentucky

- US Chita

- Wilbert Plastics

In other business:

- The foundation approved a $20,000 revolving loan for Alex Ackermann and White Moon Winery.

- The foundation also approved a resolution for the Lincoln Trail Area Development District to apply for a $500,000 community development block grant for R.L. Schreiber. Lund said Schreiber, a spice company, is looking to put in another line in its Lebanon factory.

- The foundation was in executive session for an hour of last week's meeting, which lasted nearly two hours.