MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Seven months after the official announcement was made, Procter & Gamble will be ceremonially breaking ground today on its new Tabler Station plant in Southern Berkeley County.
Company representatives and state and local officials will be breaking ground on West Virginia’s largest manufacturing project and discussing what comes next.
During the ceremony, P&G will be discussing information on hiring and construction, said Jeff LeRoy, senior manager of media relations for P&G, in a telephone conversation with The Journal.
“We’re obviously excited to be here and kick it off. (Today) is just ceremonial, with actual construction starting in late October. There’s still some permitting to complete and still doing some siting. The earth movers won’t come out until about the last week of October. Even with that, no concrete will be poured for at least six months,” LeRoy said.
During the first six months, construction will be focused on moving earth, grading and installing utilities, like sewer, water and power.
LeRoy said Berkeley County began as one of 70 sites considered for the facility and was one of 25 sites that received a site visit in winter 2014, before being shortlisted as one of four potential locations.
Berkeley County was selected as the plant location for four main reasons business climate and cooperation, existing infrastructure, qualified labor force and and the overall community environment, he said.
“It is important for us to attract, recruit and retain talent. A facility of this size requires a large labor force. We like to promote from within, and employees come to us for jobs and stay for careers. This is a great community to come and live and raise a family,” LeRoy said, adding that several employees from other manufacturing sites have already requested transferring to Berkeley County, including an employee who grew up in Martinsburg.
To recruit a talented and qualified work force, Procter & Gamble will be working with Blue Ridge Community and Technical Center, including creating curriculum based on the company’s needs.
To help the college with its training efforts, P&G will be providing BRCTC with a cash grant for the school to use as it best sees fit toward those efforts, LeRoy said, stating that further details on the grant will be discussed at today’s groundbreaking.
LeRoy said all hiring will be done through P&G’s website at www.jobs-pg.com. Even though most of the hiring effort will not occur until closer to when the plant opens in 2017, it is important that residents begin training now, he said. LeRoy said initial hiring in 2017 will be around 300, and the plant is expected to be staffed at 700 by 2019.
-Staff writer Samantha Cronk can be reached at 304-263-8931, ext. 132, or twitter.com/scronkJN.