Companies praise Hazleton area workforce

Despite recent growth, companies are finding the Greater Hazleton area still has an abundance of workers available.

In fact, prior to the November opening of Chicago-based Gonnella Frozen Products’ new Humboldt North facility, the company received many more applicants than positions they had available.

Company President Ken Gonnella said he was “exceptionally pleased” with the number and quality of applicants.

“We had absolutely no problems finding candidates who possess the skill sets we were seeking. I’ve been very impressed with the people our company has hired here in Hazleton and with the number of applicants who applied for positions,” Gonnella said.

“All of the candidates have been fast learners and took to the training quickly. It’s a very good group we have here in the Hazleton area,” Gonnella said.

Another recent success story involves an expansion at Quebecor World’s Hazleton printing plant in Humboldt Industrial Park.

Quebecor has been so impressed with its workforce here that the company chose its Hazleton plant as the center for expansion in 2007 and 2008.

Bill Lewis, manager of the Hazleton facility, said his company needed to add 73 full-time workers for the recent expansion and had no trouble finding qualified workers.

“I was exceedingly happy with the applicants we got from our advertising and from just putting a sign out front on the lawn. I thought it may be difficult to find qualified workers, but we received hundreds of applicants for those jobs,” Lewis said.

The company is currently undergoing another expansion to add yet another press to its line and will be hiring additional employees in 2008.

“We already have a good pool of candidates to choose from for that expansion,” he said.