John Soules Foods holds job fair

Published 9:32 am Thursday, May 27, 2021

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VALLEY — John Soules Foods held a job fair on Wednesday at Valley Community Center, and there was a very strong turnout on the part of local people looking to work in the new Valley plant.

Human resources representatives for the new plant were aided by members of the AIDT state agency, City of Valley employees and the Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA) staff in handling applications and talking about the opportunities with John Soules Foods.

“People were lined up outside waiting to get in when we got here this morning,” said Chris Busby of the CCDA staff.

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Hiring will start in July, and the new plant should be up and running by mid August. There will be a little more than 200 operator positions, along with maintenance and management personnel when production begins.

There will be two production lines at the outset and three more to be added in the coming years. When the plant is in full production, more than 500 people will be working at John Soules Foods in Valley.

“Working for John Soules Foods will be a great opportunity for the people of this area,” said AIDT recruitment specialist Shalendria Jones. “From what we have seen this morning, there’s great interest in working for John Soules Foods. They are looking for a lot of people right now.”

More than 50 people had applied in the first hour, and that number was in the 100 range by mid afternoon.

Stephanie Royal, an HR specialist for John Soules Foods, said she was pleased with the turnout and the interest being shown.

“Valley is a great place to be,” she said. “I have been here for just a few weeks, but the community has been so welcoming and so helpful. We are so happy to be here. Everybody we have dealt with has been great.”

City employee Robin Butts is on a committee to assist in the John Soules Foods start up. She said the city is fortunate to have a company like John Soules Foods opening locally. A good indicator of a good employer, she said, is its turnover rate.

“John Soules Foods has a low turnover rate, both at its plant in Tyler, Texas and at the one in Gainesville, Georgia. People tend to stay when they are paid well, have good benefits and the work isn’t burdensome.”

Operator positions that will need to be filled by mid August include pallet jack operator, tumbler operator, stacker, letdown, marination and floor person.

Work requirements include: being able to work five to seven days a week and to work overtime if needed, to report to work on time and on days you are scheduled to work, to do duties other than your normal job when asked to do so by the supervisor, ability to work in a cold environment (an estimated 40 degrees Fahrenheit), to wear safety glasses when working and to work in a plant environment.

The pay ranges from $14 to $18.25 per hour with a 50 cent shift differential. (Second shift workers are paid slightly more).

Benefits include being on a medical plan with zero-dollar co-pays at preferred local pharmacies, an on-site medical clinic with a physician assistant and a zero-dollar co-pay for office visits, dental and vision plans, voluntary life, GAP, critical illness, cancer and accident insurance, company-paid short-term disability, an employer matched 401K plan, advancement through job postings, paid time off, holidays, annual tenure bonuses, service awards and various employee recognition programs and events. The pay for maintenance technicians goes from $15 to $30 per hour. There are four levels of maintenance technicians and two levels for those in refrigerator maintenance, plus refrigeration apprentices.