Reporting Andrea Menniti
TURLOCK (CBS13) – There are few places in America where they need jobs more than in Stanislaus County, but word is that more jobs are on the way.
Blue Diamond Growers will break ground on almost 90 acres it purchased for a new almond plant in Turlock. The groundbreaking is set for next month but it will be another year before the facility is up and running.
City Manager Roy Wasden believes the construction of the facility will help attract other companies to the Turlock Regional Industrial Park west of downtown.
“We are really excited about the groundbreaking,” he said. “We hope we are overwhelmed with folks coming. The doors are open and we’d like to do more business.”
Blue Diamond says it’s not ready to announce the number of new jobs that will be up for grabs. Wasden says an exact number is up in the air.
“We don’t know the total employment because they are setting up their lines and processing, but they’ll be very good jobs,” he said.
The planned construction is great news for Stanislaus County, where the unemployment rate is at 16.9 percent and businesses continue to pack up and leave.
Two major employers have recently announced big closures. Dawn Food Products is taking its baking supply plant to Georgia, and Patterson Vegetable Company may soon close, leaving almost 500 without a job.
The Blue Diamond expansion and so called Project X – a plan that may bring 1,500 new jobs to the county – are bright spots.
Also, Stan Together, a campaign created by Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance, is gaining momentum. The goal is to create a thousand jobs by offering incentives to small businesses that create one position.
So far more than 50 people are already hired and 150 positions are ready to be filled.