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Hershey groundbreaking 1The Hershey Company broke ground on a $60 million expansion project earlier this month that will bring more than 100 jobs to its facility in the Humboldt Industrial Park in Hazle Township.

The project involves the installation of a new Kit Kat manufacturing line and will expand the company’s local workforce by 27 percent. The new line, which will increase the facility’s Kit Kat production capacity by 36 percent, is expected to be in operation by the end of 2018. Hershey’s Humboldt facility produces all of the Kit Kat bars that are sold in the United States.

Speaking during an announcement at the Hazle Township plant, Todd Tillemans, president of Hershey’s U.S. business, said, “Our plant here in Hazle Township has long been a high value and high-performing facility. It was clear our investment should be made here. It’s because of the dedication of the people here in the Hazleton area that we have fuel to make this investment and propel Hershey into the future.”

Hershey’s Humboldt Industrial Park facility, which also makes Cadbury products and Hershey’s bars, first opened in March of 1973. CAN DO President Kevin O’Donnell said he’s thrilled to see such a longtime park tenant making such a big investment in Greater Hazleton.

“We’re proud that the Hershey Company shares CAN DO’s commitment of bringing quality, family sustaining, manufacturing jobs to Greater Hazleton. An investment of this magnitude speaks volumes about the dedicated workforce we have here in the Hazleton area that is helping to make this possible. The direct access the Humboldt facility has to Interstate 81 has also been a vital component of Hershey’s success in our area.”

The new jobs at Hershey’s Hazle Township facility are expected to pay between $17 and $22 an hour. Company officials said the positions will include production operators, HVAC specialists, maintenance mechanics and controls specialists.

State Senator John Yudichak was among area legislators or their representatives who were on hand for the groundbreaking. He thanked Hershey for increasing its investment in manufacturing in the state and spoke about the impact it will have on the local community.

“There is only one thing sweeter than Hershey’s chocolate and that’s the sweet sound of manufacturing jobs being created in Pennsylvania,” Yudichak said. “We want to create these good manufacturing jobs but we can only do it if we have a company like Hershey that recognizes when you invest your hard-earned capital in Pennsylvania workers, it always pays dividends and it’s paying dividends today for Greater Hazleton.”

State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding was in attendance on behalf of Gov. Tom Wolf’s office. Representatives from the offices of U.S. Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, Congressman Lou Barletta and State Rep. Tarah Toohil were also in attendance.