Looking for relocation from Illinois to Southern states
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  1. #1
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    Default Looking for relocation from Illinois to Southern states

    I'm looking to relocate in a years time. I'm not looking for an immediate opportunity. But I wanted to inquire about manufacturing in rural areas.

    Does anyone know the hot spots in the south?

    In Chicago area in Illinois its a melting pot. But I've been warned about the rural areas not having a lot of jobs. I want to live in the south. And want to gauge options and opinions about where to look for jobs before I just say "I want to live in the south" I'm just a set up man with years of operating and setup under my belt. Tennessee and Alabama came to mind.

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    #1 georgee1
    If you are willing to travel and are a polyglot, specialising in ancient Near Eastern languages, there are opportunities at Oxford University in advancing the work on the world's largest jigsaw puzzle, the Oxyrhynchus Papyri.
    One hundred and twenty years of work already and only half a million fragments remain.
    No profit whatsoever, just costs.

    Alternatively, only for experts in spectral analyis, but also in Europe, the administrators of the contents of the library of the Villa of the Papyri, have vacancies.
    I must warn you that the three dimensional, carbonised scrolls present a greater challenge than Oxyrhynchus. c250 years since their discovery and the unprofitable work continues.

    Vacancies exist in the UK, for Latin and Software specialists, in the translation of the, recently unearthed, London equivalent of the Vindolanda tablets. Also unprofitable.

    Nearer to your home in the USA, do you have any experience in statue removal?
    There are numerous Southern opportunities for removal of statues of Robert E whatshisname.
    Other opportunities, although at a lower rate, exist for removing statues of Jefferson thingy.
    Part time work is available for removal of statues of Stonewall whoosit.
    The resident PM demolition/machining expert, Mill Hand, will check your credentials.

  3. #3
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    you should look into programming, just operating doesn't cover the range.....

    Just search the job adds in relevant spots and see what's about, go for a visit / working holiday for a few weeks see what its like.

    I suspect there may be issues with the china virus all over america impacting jobs...both positive and negative issues.

  4. #4
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    I started leaving Chicago in 1996 and likely understand some of the reasons you want to leave. A couple of years in Texas (Austin) didn't suit me and returned to a Chicago in 1998 that was different. I've been in TN for about 13 years and can only answer questions from my perspective. It's NOT like Chicago here, both good and bad. Some areas have focused taxes for revenue collection and this should be a factor in your decision. Convenience/availability areas come with a higher price tag so adjust your expectations per your budget. I live in a fairly rural area and willingly accept inconvenience as the price to pay.

    Hot spots? There are several in this area but this changes per project duration. The greater Atlanta area always has a lot of manufacturing openings and has all the worst aspects Chicago (or any large city) does in the metro area, outside of the metro it might not be so bad.

    Spartanburg (SC) has automotive work and that goes up/down as automotive always does.

    Nashville shows a lot of work openings too but is becoming expensive to live there, rural areas outside the city are more affordable.

    Memphis area usually has openings because nobody I've ever met wants to live near Memphis again if given a choice.

    Chattanooga has auto plants and the aforementioned rise/fall of the automakers. The TVA has large scale projects going on but only for project duration of 4-6 years unless you know somebody. You'll also need clearance from the Fed for these openings.

    Knoxville usually has a lot of openings in various industries, many of them are related to the nuclear work requiring DOD/DOE clearance and will be project duration dependent.

    Most of the openings I see for Alabama are for the Huntsville area and I presume it's directly/indirectly for the Redstone Arsenal, dependent on project duration and your ability to obtain security clearance.

    Unless you have a defined skill set it may be difficult to find a decent paying job in the Southeast. Right now there seems to be a trend for lowering wages to the 1982 level for less skilled work. General CNC set-up and programming jobs are going for 18-22 bucks an hour, set-up for automated production is less. Yes there are higher paying companies but everybody is trying to get a foot in the door at these places and it helps to know somebody in the "Old Boy Network".

    Hot employment areas are still subject to supply/demand and remain hot only until enough people come along to fill those openings, often as temporary contractors and move on when the contract ends. Companies are often inclined to use temporary contractors over direct hire. My only advice would be to select a location you want to live in because long term employment is a thing of the past. Target an area, do your homework, and roll the dice. If nothing else you'll live where you want to and sacrifices will seem less difficult. If I can answer questions about specific locations contact me in a PM. Good luck.

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    AD Design pretty much covered it. If you want to work in the south then look where TN, GA, AL, SC, NC all connect. It's a melting pot of large and small shops in that area. Most are maintenance type shops supporting the larger factories so it can go from a 4 day week to 7 days+ real fast. If you have good organizational skills you can walk into most anywhere as a setup guy between $15-$20 and hour. That's a decent wage for the area as the cost of living is quite low. Tennessee has no state tax so that's a nice bonus.

    A lot of the gravy train machinist jobs you may as well forget about. M&M Mars, Olin Chlor Alkali, Bowater Paper, Dupont, and several others all have beautiful maintenance shops but they contract everything out to local job shops. They all have machinist that don't do anything but sketchup a broken part then send it out, or just send the broken part and let it be someone else's problem.

    There's a lot of shops in Chattanooga but that town has spent the last 20 years trying to recover from a union strike at ABB Combustion Engineering when 350+ Machinist at $60 an hour decided they wanted more benefits. Combustion gave em all the one finger wave and closed the machining areas. It was a great time to own a machine shop in that area in 2000. They had an auction that was not advertised more than a few cities away. Pretty much whoever bought a machine at the auction got the job that the machine did so long as they didn't hire one of the former union machinist. It was a hush hush deal but the whole town knew they were blackballing those union workers.

    The problem now is Alstom bought out ABB and put in a huge turbine manufacturing plant and had a few hundred machinist knocking down $75 an hour up until recently Then GE bought Alstom out and closed it again. Now the towns flooded with highly skilled guys fighting for $30 an hour positions at the job shops only to find they can't handle the fast paced work. For shop owners its a total cluster fk trying to get a good job shop machinist or "Out of the box thinker" because of all the ABB/Alstom guys.

    If I was back in the states Chattanooga would be more of a last resort. 20 minutes north is Cleveland and probably 15-20 mom and pop shops. Cheap cost of living and great little town just make sure your right with god or you'll get a southern Baptist Scolding. Then you got Athens TN, another 20 minutes north with probably 40 shops supplying automotive interior tooling. But the place is the Meth capital of Tennessee.

    Another 20 minutes north you have Knoxville witch is booming with shops but the cost of living is a bit high. Nashville's nice if you want to be around middle Tennessee but the crime rate would deter me. As AD said "Memphis" but I as well don't have any desire to even visit that town.

    Huntsville is right on the TN,GA border and if you’re into Aerospace then that's the place to be. With NASA/Redstone Arsenal there it draws in every Aerospace company imaginable. Great place, low cost of living, plenty of work, half a day to Gulf Shores Alabama beaches and just a few more to New Orleans. BUT,,,, It is the most racially divided city i've ever been to.

    Head back east a bit into GA and Atlanta is a booming city. Loads of shops to choose from and lots of stuff to do. Six flags amusement park for the family then another half dozen water parks. If you like guns about 15 minutes north of Atlanta is Kennesaw GA. Great place to live if you like guns as "every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm."

    Then you go a bit more to the South East and you get Savannah GA. By far the best place I ever worked and lived. Home of Gulfstream Aircraft and probably 50+ Suppliers for them alone. Then there is 2 of the largest Nuke/Fossil plant repair shops in the states next door to each other. Then JCB Heavy Equipment, Hobart, Georgia Pacific, ADM Milling. The shops there throw $$$$ at you. The whole town is one big party and everyone in the manufacturing areas know everyone. It's not long before other shops start trying to snake you away from where you’re at.


    There is plenty of opportunity in the South East. Just pick a spot that looks nice to you and pop a resume out.

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    G-coder05
    A bit OT, but I have lived and/or worked in Huntsville, AL since 1986 and am curious as to what you mean by "It is the most racially divided city I've ever been to." Once I understand the statement, I would also like to hear about any evidence that lead you to that conclusion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    just make sure your right with god or you'll get a southern Baptist Scolding.
    -There's, unfortunately, far more than just Baptists here to deal with in the Chattanooga area. Your politics, your church, and who you know is often of greater importance than skill/experience. This is less important in larger cities like Atlanta/Knoxville but still gets noted.

    g-coder05 gave a more detailed listing of events that occurred but things (employment openings and wages) have changed since the beginning of the year. Sharpen you budget pencil and set priorities accordingly. Wages are less, so is the cost of housing, property taxes (depending upon location) and state income tax (zero here in TN). It's really about the type of lifestyle you want that will determine your cost of living. I've met several transplants from the Chicago area and they all say the same thing: "It was a bumpy start but was worth the move". YMMV.

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    G-coder05
    A bit OT, but I have lived and/or worked in Huntsville, AL since 1986 and am curious as to what you mean by "It is the most racially divided city I've ever been to." Once I understand the statement, I would also like to hear about any evidence that lead you to that conclusion.
    For years I was a supplier for several of the Aero companies in Huntsville and since it was about and hour and a half from Cleveland I spent a lot of time there. For me it just seemed the areas around Research Park BLVD just kept me on edge. A few times I had to stay in hotels in that area and I was definitely made unwelcome. When I would hang out with engineers from Raytheon or Lockheed we would go out and it was always "Oh, Don't go here" or "Don't go there. They have their area and we have ours". Apparently HWY 72 is almost like a border line.

    Your politics, your church, and who you know is often of greater importance than skill/experience.
    Definitely don't get baited in with discussing politics at work in the south unless you're real sure that who you're talking to is on the same page. The good ole boy pipeline has better service than Ma Bell on her best day! Unfortunately "Blackballing" is a big thing in the south and Tennessee is an "Employment At Will" State so it's pretty much impossible to sue an employer or potential employer over normal labor laws like most other states.

    Tennessee is known as an "EMPLOYMENT-AT-WILL" state. Generally, this means that an employer may legally hire, fire, suspend or discipline any employee at any time and for any reason - good or bad - or for no reason at all. ... This law may be found at Tennessee Revised Statutes Title 50-1-304.

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    G-coder05,

    Are you sure they weren't pulling your leg? I've grown up in Huntsville and been pretty much all over town repeatedly. There's some section 8 housing areas on the west central side of town that are rough but other than that it's overall a pretty nice place. The area's around Research Park BLVD made you uncomfortable in what way? Those are generally pretty nice areas with very few if any problems. There's pretty much no racial divide along HWY72. North Parkway is predominately Black and South Parkway is predominately White but anybody can be found anywhere. It's by no means segregated.

    Huntsville is a pretty good mix of folks. There's transplants from all over the world here due to Redstone arsenal, NASA, and all the aerospace stuff.

    Huntsville has a ton of machining going on due to all of the previously mentioned stuff. Wages will seem low if from other areas but the cost of living is also low. $150K will buy you a nice 1800 sq ft house in a nice part of town on a 1/2 acre lot. If you move outside of town by 15 minutes, it gets cheaper or you get more for your money. Huntsville is quite a bit different than stereotypical Alabama.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Griffin View Post
    G-coder05,

    Are you sure they weren't pulling your leg? I've grown up in Huntsville and been pretty much all over town repeatedly. There's some section 8 housing areas on the west central side of town that are rough but other than that it's overall a pretty nice place. The area's around Research Park BLVD made you uncomfortable in what way? Those are generally pretty nice areas with very few if any problems. There's pretty much no racial divide along HWY72. North Parkway is predominately Black and South Parkway is predominately White but anybody can be found anywhere. It's by no means segregated.

    Huntsville is a pretty good mix of folks. There's transplants from all over the world here due to Redstone arsenal, NASA, and all the aerospace stuff.

    Huntsville has a ton of machining going on due to all of the previously mentioned stuff. Wages will seem low if from other areas but the cost of living is also low. $150K will buy you a nice 1800 sq ft house in a nice part of town on a 1/2 acre lot. If you move outside of town by 15 minutes, it gets cheaper or you get more for your money. Huntsville is quite a bit different than stereotypical Alabama.

    I wasn't referring to it being violently divided I was more pointing out it is just segregated divided, Just as you pointed out NP and SP pretty much just divides the races. The section 8 areas are occupied by whoever can get in there first so I wouldn’t include those areas. 72 Alt not much going on but it just seemed when we were on 72 main we had to watch where and how we stepped.

    I like huntsvilles as far as a manufacturing hotspot, It has a lot to offer as well as being a good hub for surrounding weekend getaways. It's just that I've been going there since the 80's all the way up to 2012 when I left the states pretty much every week and just never really got that comfy vibe.

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    G-coder05
    The only thing I can think of that differentiates north of 72 and south of 72 is the cities involved. Madison is generally south of 72 and is more of an upscale yuppie town. Huntsville is north and east of Madison and is just a thriving city of all kinds of people.

    Huntsville is considered to be one of the smartest cities in the US because of the numbers of people with college, masters, and PHD degrees. Huntsville is home to Redstone Arsenal and Marshall Space Flight Center. It is also home to a tech college (Drake State), a junior college (Calhoun), and three major universities (University of Alabama, Huntsville; Alabama A&M; and Oakwood).

    I would not call Huntsville an industrial town because much of what is done here is smaller high tech. However, Toyota, Mazda, Remington and others have plants here.

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    Don't forget about Polaris and Swartz for other huntsville plants. Ppg and Mitchell plastics also have large facilities in Huntsville. Yulista has a large presence here as well. Boeing also has some facilities here. The list goes on. There's a ton of stuff in Decatur as well (20 minutes west of Huntsville). United Launch Alliance for example.

    Huntsville has the second largest research park in the country. Lots of defense and aero stuff.

    It's a nice area if you like outdoors stuff as well. There's a nice state park in the middle of the city on montesano mountain. Lots of mountain bike and hiking trails. Even have a good sized campground there. Hsv land trust has a bunch of land open to the public around here as well. Its mountain biking and hiking only. There's 10 or 11 off road parks within 2 hours if that's your thing. Lots of boating with the Tennessee river running around the south edge of town. There's kayak rental places if you want to float the flint river. Lots of fishing in lake Guntersville about 45 minutes south of hsv. There's also a huge amount of caves in this area that are used for recreation. The national speleological society headquarters is here due to all the caving going on. There's probably some stuff I'm forgetting.

    Huntsville is definitely worth a look but probably doesn't end up on most people's list of possibilities because they just don't know much about it.

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    Huntsville is definitely worth a look but probably doesn't end up on most people's list of possibilities because they just don't know much about it.
    If the Covid would go away it would be nice for someone to get in on the ground floor if they finally put the new BMW plant there.


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