Workers needed for plant

Published 4:50 am Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Brewton applicants wanted; fair set

A textile company is eyeing southwest Alabama as a potential manufacturing plant site but only if enough potential sewing machine operators can be found first.

The plant, while likely located in Frisco City in Monroe County in the former Medline Industries site, hopes to draw potential employees from Brewton and the surrounding areas.

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The company primarily manufactures items bought through government contracts. By law, such items must be produced in the United States and cannot be outsourced to other countries.

“This is a strong company with an excellent track record, and we would be thrilled to have them locate in our area,” said Dr. John Johnson, executive director of Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Alliance. “While we cannot identify the company publicly, we have vetted its processes and capabilities, and we believe the company would fit perfectly in what was, at one time, the textile capital of the country.”

In most cases, economic development officials would not comment publicly on projects still in the development states; however,that is not the case today.

“They’ve asked us to document the availability of a workforce,” Jess Nicholas, assistant director for communications and research for Coastal Gateway. “You have to remember it’s been about 20 years since the textile industry was widespread through our region, though. Finding a workforce is a legitimate concern.”

To help answer questions, Coastal Gateway and the Alabama Career Network will take pre-applications for employment on June 16 and 17 at Alabama Southern Community College in Monroeville.

“We anticipate this company will hire 70 to 100 workers,” Nicholas said. “We will need to gather 200 to 300 applications from qualified applicants to prove the necessary workforce exists for this project.”

Prior or current sewing experience is not necessary, Nicholas said.

“The company is also seeking applications for clerical and maintenance positions,” he said.

“They are interested in applicants with good job histories, or who have worked in production-related fields,” he said. “They will train for sewing skills, if they find the right applicants.”

Those interested in applying should visit ASU or visit their local career system office. In Brewton, that office can be reached at 251.67.3247. On June 16, applications will be accepted from 2-6:30 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on June 17.

“It would certainly be exciting for us to be part of the textile comeback in America,” Johnson said. “The proud people of this area poured their hearts into the industry for decades and enriched their families along the way. The opportunity to bring that back to our area is something we care a great deal about doing.”