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112-Year-Old Minnesota Manufacturer Tries to Recruit Workers from Florida, Puerto Rico

Results have been mixed.

Warroad, Minnesota, is about as north as you can go in the continental United States. The city of about 2,000 people is nicknamed Hockeytown USA due to its ability to consistently produce Olympians. But, in addition to supplying the U.S. national teams with talent, the small town has also been providing doors and windows for over 100 years.

The windows and doors come from Marvin and its manufacturing buildings that occupy 2.2 million square feet. However, a report by the Wall Street Journal explained that the $1.5 billion company is struggling to fill jobs at its Warroad factory.

The report highlighted that the company’s baby boomers are retiring at a rate of nearly one per week, alongside a 1.68% population growth rate in the city since 2000. 

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Looking to fill the open jobs, the Wall Street Journal reported that Marvin has created an initiative called “The Path North.” The recruitment plan involves using Facebook ads and other online advertising to find workers in Florida and Puerto Rico and move them from a tropical climate to a state that once reached minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Marvin has locations in nine other states, but is looking to keep the Warroad factory, its biggest, open. This is why the company is offering new hires benefits that include a $1,500 relocation bonus, transportation and airfare to Warroad, English classes and housing.

The Wall Street Journal article cited two sources that have moved to Warroad, 23-year-old Ashley Curbelo and 37-year-old Alan Rodriguez, who claim they earn hourly wages of $16 and $21, respectively. Both wages represent increases from their previous jobs in Puerto Rico and Florida. 

Marvin began developing “The Path North” in 2022, and it has seen mixed results. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company recently brought 115 Puerto Ricans to Warroad but have only been able to keep 63, with those who left either taking jobs elsewhere in the area or returning south.

Integrated Staffing Solutions, a recruiting agency in Minneapolis that works with Marvin, conducts an initial screening, and Marvin handles the job interviews. Marvin CEO Paul Marvin said the recruitment is “not an immigration play” and that all participants are U.S. citizens or have the authorization to work in the U.S.

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