HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The population in Hays County continues to grow and so do job postings in the area. Specifically, jobs in the manufacturing and skilled trades sectors.

Adam Thompson knows this all too well.

He works as the President of Texas Fabrications for Epic Piping, a pipe systems manufacturer located in San Marcos.

“We’re at about 267 employees split between all of our departments — material, QC, painting, fabrication — and if we could be at 320 tomorrow, we would be,” Thompson said.

He said there are job listings in nearly every department.

“We have material handlers, helpers, clerks, obviously welders, pipe fabricators,” Thompson said.

This trend is not unique to Epic Piping. According to Paul Fletcher, CEO of Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area, it’s a trend county-wide.

“There’s a strong manufacturing base in and around San Marcos and Hays County. That’s continued even through the pandemic,” Fletcher said.

Thompson said job openings are growing but the candidates applying are not. So now, instead of looking for experience, they’re just looking for entry-level knowledge.

“While they can’t come in automatically and be on table fitting or welding or painting, we can give them the tools and the training to get them to that level,” Thompson said.

As the hunt for candidates continues, Thompson said his goal is to find employees that want to grow within both the company and the county.

“It’s an opportunity to stay in your home town or stay in the area, that I’ve come to love, in the Hill Country. It’s a lot better than a lot of other options out there,” Thompson said.

Researchers at Workforce Solutions expect a 3% annual growth in the manufacturing industry in Hays County.