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Oneida, others bring jobs to North Bryan
Oneida 1
Job seekers attend a recent meeting on employment in one of the new plants.
The job market in North Bryan County, which has historically been stagnant, is looking bright
This is being spearheaded currently by Oneida, and will continue in the near future as the Interstate Centre Industrial Park at the intersection of Interstate 16 and Hwy 280 grows.
The park currently includes the following companies:
• Oracal manufacturing facility, which is currently conducting business with dozens of Bryan County residents in its employ. Expansion plans are in the works as they recently purchased an additional 30 acres. The company produces self-adhesive film.
• Oneida distribution center, which is currently enlisting employees for its distribution center which is scheduled to open in early March. It is projected that 150 applicants will gain employment. The company is one of the world’s leading marketers of stainless steel flatware.
• Kawasaki distribution center, which has broken ground and plans to open this March. The company is an international distributor of popular lines of motorcycles, ATVs, watercrafts and utility vehicles. The facility is moving to the park from Savannah which only entails about a dozen new hires.
All these companies have come to Bryan County in deals brokered by the Development Authority of Bryan County.
“One of our main goals with the creation of the industrial park was to bring jobs to Bryan County,” said Development Authority Director Jean Bacon. “We have certainly made strides in regard to that and are excited about the employment prospects that would come along with any future major tenant.”
There is room for at least one more major company. Currently rumored to be in contention is E-One, which is a fire-truck manufacturer based out of Ocala, Fla. If the E-One deal does happen, it could mean 1,000 available jobs at the potential manufacturing plant.
Despite reports to the contrary, Bryan County Commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed said he has no knowledge of Bryan County being a finalist in consideration for E-One’s manufacturing facility and seemed skeptical about the company coming to the industrial park.
Burnsed said he is aware E-One is looking into the park, but said many companies have done so and continue to do so. Burnsed did relay his excitement that, whatever company fills the vacant slot at the park, it will be very positive for the county with yet another flow of job opportunities.
E-One Vice President of Corporate Business Development Larry Moore said that a decision on the location of their new site has not been made.
“When we do make a decision, we’re going to acknowledge the decision to our employees and then to the press,” Moore said.
Moore added he could not release any information about the site because of a confidentiality agreement.
in the meantime, Oneida conducted a job fair Wednesday and is continuing to look for new hires. Pembroke Gateway employment specialist Dave Williams has spent much of this past week getting the word out to North Bryan County residents about applying for a position with the company. Although Williams primarily deals with employing the disabled, he is trying to pass the word to all local folks.
“This is a rare opportunity for this county that is very positive for every citizen in this county,” Williams said . “If Bryan County residents land these jobs, the money earned is going to be spent right here – whether its home improvements, retail purchasing - just a whole host of things.”
“I am tired of hearing how poverty-stricken this area is,” Williams said. “We have to do everything we can to enhance this community opportunity.”
Williams said that the most common obstacle that he hears of regarding local unemployment is lack of transportation, recognizing that the county does not have public transportation services. He has initiated talks with Bryan County Family Connection Director Tara Jennings about potentially utilizing the BCFC bus in order to facilitate this need, which will require funding.
If you are interested in applying to Oneida, you can do so by applying at any Department of Labor facility. Call 356-2773 to find the facility nearest to you. If you are accepted, a two-day training session will be conducted via Quick Start. The first quick start class begins Jan. 29 and the last session begins on Feb. 19. Average rate of pay is $9-$12 with full benefits and raises after six months, according to Oneida Human Resources Director Wilbert Allen.
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