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Frozen food firm gets applications

More than 40 unemployed Ironton area residents already have found employment at a Jackson plant.

Friday, August 06, 1999

More than 40 unemployed Ironton area residents already have found employment at a Jackson plant. Tuesday, 80 more sent in applications when Luigino’s Inc. representatives made their second trip this summer to the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services office in Ironton.

"We probably have about 20 employees that we have hired from this area from that first visit here," said Clara Ridgeway, Luigino’s Inc. human resources supervisor. "From that first group of applicants, we’re looking to place more as well. There will probably be a total of about 40 jobs from that group."

The Jackson frozen foods processing plant, which produces Michelli’s Italian entrees and Yu-Sing Chinese entrees, is undergoing expansion that will add 200 jobs to the area. And that means available employment for qualified applicants from Lawrence County who don’t mind a 45-mile commute each day.

"We’re willing to work with the employees from this area who want to car pool, and we try and arrange the starting times for their shifts within a close range to make things easier," she said. "Some employees from this area already do that, and we can help the employees who are interested in car pooling get in touch with them."

Working out transportation and hours is just one way the company is willing to help accommodate Lawrence County workers.

Pay ranges vary, but for the more than 150 unemployed workers from Cabletron systems, the idea of a steady income is a good one if Tuesday’s 80-person turnout is any indication, Mrs. Ridgeway said.

"The entry level jobs start at about $6.10 an hour, and maintenance jobs begin at $10.10 an hour, so there are some good opportunities here," she said. "We are a union workforce with United Food and Commercial Workers Local No. 1059, and that seems to appeal to them, too."

News of Cabletron’s impending departure brought Luigino’s representatives to the area in June and will likely bring them back again, Mrs. Ridgeway said.

"We started thinking about this area when we heard about Cabletron," she said. "We knew we were going to be expanding and the idea of a skilled workforce appealed to us. We had a great response when we visited in June, and we (had) twice that amount (Tuesday)."