A skilled workforce is at the heart of successful economic development. Northeastern Pennsylvania attracts many national and international companies every year because of the area’s quality workforce and a support system of agencies that help them succeed. Here’s a look at just a few of these agencies and information about some of the programs they offer companies in our region.
Greater Hazleton continues to attract many national and international companies because it retains a proud tradition as an area populated with a large labor pool of skilled and dedicated workers who have the knowledge and work ethic to instantly fill available job openings across all industry sectors.
Pennsylvania CareerLink Luzerne County Administrator Christine Jensen said she sees many eager job hunters at the hundreds of events her office hosts in Hazleton. More than 600 people with the background and skills to obtain immediate employment attended an annual job fair hosted by PA CareerLink and the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce earlier this year.
Jensen feels the area continues to maintain its reputation as a place where residents want to be employed.
Greater Hazleton provides multiple benefits for any industry that is looking to open a new facility. Among those many positive attributes is a large pool of employees with the highest level of integrity and productivity. Success in the manufacturing and logistics industry has always involved a team effort and employers consistently rank having a dedicated workforce as one of their keys to do business.
Our region’s large labor pool is just one of a number of advantages that companies cite when growing their business operation in the Hazleton area. Other benefits also include Pennsylvania’s low operating costs compared to neighboring states and the geographical proximity to major highways including Interstates 80, 81, 380 and 476.
Many local companies have found success utilizing the diverse skills of Greater Hazleton’s workforce.
Pennsylvania CareerLink uses the nationally-recognized WorkKeys program to ensure that local workers possess the skills that will lead to their employment success. The Luzerne County office is certified to administer the test to measure basic, foundational skill levels in potential employees and assess if they have the necessary traits employers are looking for in their available positions.
The majority of area candidates who take the WorkKeys assessment routinely rank within the acceptable skills range for the jobs they are seeking, including those in the manufacturing industry, according to PA CareerLink Luzerne County Administrator Christine Jensen.
Keeping in line with its mission and the strategic goal of attracting and retaining jobs in Greater Hazleton, CAN DO, Inc. recently purchased a 25,000-square-foot building in Humboldt Industrial Park West from a private corporation. The ownership was leasing it to a food processing-related company and decided they wanted to sell the building.
Knowing the tenant wanted to remain in the property for the remaining term of the lease, and with the hope of retaining the company long term, CAN DO stepped in and purchased the facility to ensure the tenant would be able to continue its operations.
CAN DO is continually looking to assist the food processing industries located in Greater Hazleton in any way possible. Recently, CAN DO assisted in a less traditional way when an opportunity arose for the organization to help a Greater Hazleton food processing company maintain its trailer parking location, which is a vital component of their business.
Bimbo Bakeries, which manufactures and distributes freshly made bread products from its Valmont Industrial Park facility, had been leasing additional land from a private developer, but wanted long-term assurance that the property would remain available for its trailer parking.
To assist Bimbo Bakeries, CAN DO purchased the 11-acre tract from the private owner and, in turn, leased the land directly to Bimbo, further stabilizing their operations.
It’s only been a year since Florida-based Tech Packaging, Inc. launched a contract packaging operation in Humboldt Industrial Park, Hazle Township, and the company is already nearing 100 percent capacity, said Bob Janes, the company’s founder and president.
Tech Packaging was looking for the correct geography when selecting a site for its new facility. They wanted a site that was within a 50-mile radius from their existing facility in Berwick, PA. With this in mind, Tech Packaging’s national real estate consultant, Cresa, searched different areas of Pennsylvania and New York, ultimately recommending Humboldt Industrial Park.
Matthew Marshall, senior vice president of Cresa’s Philadelphia office, said Humboldt Industrial Park was chosen for several reasons. Taking into consideration all the sites that were an option, Cresa and Tech Packaging were most specifically looking for a site that would meet Tech Packaging’s building specifications, employment demands and delivery date.
Equilibrium Equities, Inc., has finalized the purchase of a 13.7-acre parcel in Humboldt Industrial Park North. The site can accommodate up to 180,000 square feet and the developer plans on constructing a Class-A building upon locating a company to Greater Hazleton, according to John Morris, senior vice president at Equilibrium.
A manufacturing company that was launched nearly 45 years ago to provide jobs for people with disabilities in and around Greater Hazleton is growing with the assistance of one of its largest clients and CAN DO, Inc.
CTC Manufacturing has recently expanded into two CAN DO-owned facilities with more than 33,000 square feet of space within the Valmont Industrial Park that will be used to complete work for Henkel, formerly Dial Corporation. Henkel has a manufacturing facility in Valmont.
Greater Hazleton and the surrounding region have a workforce that is qualified, ready and available.
Senior Human Resources Manager Sandy Sola said American Eagle Outfitters received hundreds of applicants for its positions, and the company has been pleased with the caliber of Greater Hazleton’s workforce. “Part of our staffing strategy is to partner with local temporary agencies to help us secure our entry-level workforce. We are currently in the process of converting many of those individuals to full-time employment. And, we still have a very healthy candidate pipeline of individuals trying to find positions with American Eagle Outfitters,” she said.