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November 21--  Many manufacturers and companies in the U.S. have jobs but say they have trouble finding qualified and motivated workers.

The folks at Southeastern Tech's Economic Development Center in Vidalia are trying to help local employers find good employees.  Even with an area unemployment rate over ten percent, companies are experiencing problems finding and keeping good workers.

At a workforce seminar last week, Bobby Hicks told employers his family's company, U.S. Energy, attracts workers with a four-day work week, something he believes appeals to younger workers. Hicks is shown here with seminar facilitator Sandy Marshall.{mosimage}

"We definitely have those generational changes.  The older generation seems to have trouble with new technology.  The younger kids don't want to work with their hands. So what we've done is we realize they value their time off so we've switched over to four ten-hour days and other things to accomodate the newer generation," Hicks reports.

"There's a concern out there that production falls off the last couple of hours, but I've found out the fear of going back to five eight-hour days is enough for them not to let production fall off," he says.

Hicks says the four-day work week has helped U.S. Energy increase productivity. "We've almost had a 50 percent increase in production with the same work staff, the same total amount of hours and the same equipment," he reports.