By SCNOW STAFF
FLORENCE, SC —
Just over three years since the plant was announced, Heinz is preparing to put its frozen food plant on line starting in the early fall.
“Heinz is pleased to report that it will open its new state-of-the-art facility in Florence, S.C., in 2011. We have begun the hiring process and plan to start production at the factory in the fall,” Jessica Jackson, senior manager of public relations for Heinz North America, said in a press release.
The plant is initially expected to hire about 200 people, Jackson said.
Hiring for salaried positions is being handled through the careers section at www.heinz.com and the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce is handing applications for the hourly positions a twww.dew.sc.gov, Jackson said.
Heinz announced in June 2008 it would open a Florence facility to expand its production of frozen meals, bringing 350 full- and part-time jobs to the area.
The company built a 225,000-square-foot facility on 49 acres in Pee Dee Electric Cooperative’s Touchstone Energy Commerce City, near U.S. 95 and S.C. 327 and made an initial investment of $105 million in the plant, according to county records. But the launch of the new facility was put on hold because of the state of the economy.
The plant, located in Florence County near Marion, Dillon and Marlboro counties, would likely draw workers from those three counties that ranked 1, 2 and 10 in the state for the highest unemployment rates.
At the end of 2010, Marion and Marlboro ranked first and second with rates of 19.7 and 18.4 percent respectively. Dillon County had the state’s 10th highest rate at 15.4 percent.
Training starts March 28 at the Heinz site.