Some members of the community seem to think there aren’t enough locals being hired to work in the industrial park.
Development Authority board member Derek Smith said he was concerned about a comment he heard, which claimed the Authority "hasn’t been hiring local residents to work in the Interstate Centre’s companies." He raised the issue Thursday, at the board’s monthly meeting.
"We don’t do the hiring and we certainly encourage the park’s companies to hire from within Bryan County," Smith said. "To me, it’s such an ideal situation to have people here being employed in the park."
While most of the park’s tenants do not have official headcounts of how many of their employees are Bryan County residents, County Administrator Phil Jones said about 34 percent of Oracal’s employees are from Bryan County.
"Oracal has been wonderful about hiring local people to work in their new headquarters, and hiring them to help during the construction process," DA Executive Director Jean Bacon said, also noting that the Interstate Centre is a "regional effort," and they’re happy to employ residents from Bryan County and surrounding areas.
The board noted Oracal is currently looking to hire and, despite a billboard advertisement about openings, has not yet been able to fill the positions. Visit www.oracal.com/about/careers.asp to see the list of job opportunities, or call Oracal at 851-5000.
Frank DuBose said in time there will be more and more Bryan County residents employed at the local industrial park and Ted Akins pointed out that new homes being built in the north end of the county are affordable and selling.
Jones and Bacon also noted their children have returned to Bryan County to work in the past couple years, now that the Interstate Centre offers them more opportunities.
"This is the most important thing we do," Smith said. "It feels so good to think our children can graduate from local schools and stay and find a job."
DA Chairman Sean Register said he’s gotten many phone calls since Dicon Technologies, the park’s newest tenant, announced they will opening in December.
"Everyone is so excited about the businesses coming in here," Register said. "People are looking for information about us and taking note of what we’ve accomplished and that’s extremely positive."
"It’s very important that local young people want to check these opportunities out," he continued. "When you see them enthusiastic about staying where they were raised to find a job, it’s a good feeling and for a lot of hard work that we do, I think it’s one of the biggest rewards you can get in return."
Register said Dicon has been rapidly getting started on the building site in the Interstate Centre and is moving to get things ready.
Dicon Technologies President and CEO Wayne Celia agreed everything is on schedule.
"We are extremely pleased with how accommodating everyone has been. Without such a high level of cooperation, we could not have accomplished so much up to this point," Celia said. "In preparation for our full production roll-out in November, we are establishing an initial production operation with a strategic partner in the Savannah area. We are currently in the process of selecting this partner and will be in production within the month."
Celia noted Georgia’s Quickstart program and Department of Labor have been "instrumental" in the application process and has provided the company with several viable candidates. They are currently in the process of interviewing prospective employees and are "well into the selection process," he said.
For more information about applying at Dicon, visit www.dol.state.ga.us.