At their April meeting, Executive Director Kyle Fletcher told the Thomaston-Upson Industrial Development Authority (TUIDA) she has been encouraged lately by local industries when it comes to jobs in the community. She noted that even though Clearwater Paper has announced it will be closing the Thomaston plant by the first quarter of 2014, both Standard Textile and American Process are in the process of hiring more employees.
“Even with the sad news about Clearwater, I am very encouraged by the reports I am getting from our existing industries on their production and hiring,” said Fletcher. “I think that is something we should all be encouraged about it and that is why we are trying to put such an emphasis on our existing industries because they are vital to our community.”
Standard Textile will be adding 32 jobs in different areas of the plant and according to Plant Manager Bill James they are in need of filling the positions immediately to meet the needs of what they are doing. Fletcher and Georgia Economic Development Director E. Jane Caraway met with James and Human Resources Manager Michael Green to make sure they were aware of the new job tax credits that are available to the industry. They also helped to put them in touch with Workforce Development through the Georgia Department of Labor, which offers on the job training to employees.
As for American Process, which is a Research and Development Biofuels plan, plant manager Brent German told Fletcher that they are currently testing Brazilian sugar cane in an effort to break down the sugars to create an ingredient that could be used as an alternative fuel source. The company is in the process of constructing another lab and will be adding 17 high paying jobs such as physicists and chemists. They also have a three-year contract to do the sugar cane testing, so Fletcher noted they will be around for a while.
Fletcher also told the board that as hard as it is to lose Clearwater Paper, the plant itself will be very marketable to industries which are looking for a move in ready facility. The property consists of 72 acres, and a 326,000 square foot building with 30 loading docks.
“It is going to be a great available building and help eventually with our improvement efforts,” said Fletcher. “It will be an attractive option for an industry looking for a move-in ready building and that’s looking at the positive side of an industry having to close.”