FOX CROSSING, Wisc. (From news reports) -- Kimberly-Clark will hire about 120 machine operators and 10 maintenance electricians and mechanics by the end of 2020 at its Neenah Cold Spring Facility.
The job openings were announced as the company is in the midst of a $115 million investment at the plant in Fox Crossing, part of a commitment that the company made as the recipient of a $28 million package of state tax incentives in late 2018 to keep the plant open.
At the time, K-C had undertaken a global cost-cutting initiative that involved closing the plant and nine other manufacturing operations, and shedding up to 5,500 jobs.
Under the terms of the agreement, K-C must employ at least 2,400 workers in Wisconsin in the next five years. Currently, the Cold Springs plant has 575 employees.
In addition to hiring, K-C will invest in the latest computer-controlled equipment for its plant, according to information provided by the company.
Over $100 million will be spent in the next 18 months, and $200 million in the next five years, the company said. A 135,000-square-foot warehouse expansion will be completed this year. More equipment will be added and will be operational by the end of 2020.
Kimberly-Clark is the third-largest employer in the Fox Cities region. Closing the plant would not only have meant unemployment for the nearly 400 people who worked at the plant at the time, but also losses for ancillary business suppliers, contractors and truck drivers.
"We're glad to see their further investment. We've been supporting them with grant funds in the past, extension of the utilities, road improvements. We continue to do that," said George Dearborn, director of community development for the village Fox Crossing. "The importance of the paper industry is well-known in the region. We're pleased they're going to stay here and expand."
K-C says it contributed $800 million to the Wisconsin economy in 2018 by purchasing Wisconsin-produced packaging, energy and shipping. It's also a notable source of revenue for the state: K-C said it paid $24 million in state taxes last year.
"It's certainly a very important part of the community. They also have a research facility in the village as well," Dearborn said. "That's a regional facility -- it affects all of us in the Fox Valley. The important thing is that it retains good high-quality jobs. It benefits the region."
Kimberly-Clark's job database indicates it's hiring for more than 50 job types in Wisconsin, with the bulk of the jobs in Neenah. All open jobs are categorized as regular, full-time job positions. Entry level machine operators will have a starting pay ranging from $20 to $27.03 an hour. Medical and dental benefits as well as 401(k) are available on the first day of hire.
Employees would work 12-hour shifts, starting at 6 a.m. or 6 p.m.
The Cold Spring Facility will host a career fair to connect job seekers to site leadership. Job seekers will also be able to tour the facility.
Electrical and instrumentation maintenance candidates are required to have completed a qualified instrumentation and/or electrical trade apprenticeship and certificate.
Jobs for post secondary degree holders are available at Kimberly-Clark's North American consumer business headquarters in Neenah.
Kimberly-Clark has four corporate offices, four manufacturing facilities, and two research and development labs in Wisconsin.