Labor comes from dozens of miles outside Ardmore

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ARDMORE, OK - The Dot Foods distribution center in Ardmore is hiring. And while they're receiving plenty of applications, general manager Michael Ford said it's hard to pick up new employees.

"I would say it's more of a challenge to find quality applications," said Ford. "Quality meaning the right job history, some type of experience we can help translate into success."

The Ardmore Development Authority said companies in the area are dependent upon labor for a 70 mile radius. Ford said they're expanding their search for 30 drivers and 20 warehouse workers even further.

"We're hiring in Oklahoma City, we're hiring in Dallas and Fort Worth, in Sherman," said Ford. "You name it. If it's a big city and it's within 100 miles we are actively recruiting."

ADA president Brian Carter said the unemployment rate is 3.9 to 4.4 percent, and they're working to address the lack of available workers in the area with their Ardmore Workforce Project.

But in the meantime, he said that workers making a long commute reflect well on southern Oklahoma.

"When we talk about competing for labor and folks are driving 70 or 80 miles,they're closer to Dallas than they are to Ardmore and they're choosing to take a job in Ardmore," said Carter. "That's a compliment to us as a community."

While Dot has plenty of commuting employees, Ford said having to hire far away to make up for a lack of labor means the company could be missing out.

"We want to expand, our territory is growing faster than every other territory in Dot Foods across the nation," Ford said. "If we could fill our needs we would be able to supply more customers from this location and take on more business. And that's what we want to do."