SIOUX CITY | Less than a month before production is set to begin at Seaboard Triumph Foods, company officials continue filling a healthy portion of the Sioux City pork plant’s labor force.
As of Tuesday, “a couple hundred” of the hourly production workers for the $301 million plant had been hired, STF human resources director Bridey Hayes said. Company officials have long maintained that they did not expect to have all 900 production jobs filled by the opening of the plant, projected for early September.
“Things are going well. We still have a number of positions to fill and we are continuing along that process,” Hayes said. “We’ve been working very hard on staffing and we’ve been contacting folks who have applied and scheduling interviews."
A majority of the 200 salaried positions have been hired, and the office staff are in the midst of moving into the new complex in the Bridgeport West Business Park. The 925,000-square-foot plant is nearing completion after nearly two years of construction. Prior to the move, which began over the weekend, Seaboard Triumph staff were based in temporary offices in a nearby Braunger Foods facility.
Hayes said newly-hired production workers are either undergoing orientation in Sioux City or are training off-site at one of STF’s parent companies’ facilities. The mega pork plant is a joint venture between Guymon, Oklahoma-based Seaboard Foods and St. Joseph, Missouri-based Triumph Foods.
Seaboard Triumph officials have spoke openly of wanting to increase the region’s population base, which they view as something that doesn’t just benefit them but all of the region's major employers.
As part of its marketing campaign, STF has advertised production jobs in communities in California, Missouri; Alabama, Arkansas with large food processing plants and experienced workers, asking potential applicants to relocate to Siouxand.
Hayes said STF is willing to help new hires relocate; however, that determination is made on a situation-by-situation basis.
“We’ve got a lot of positions to fill and we are exploring every avenue and possibility to fill those positions,” she said. “We’re looking at folks locally but also looking outside of the immediate area.”
The Sioux City metro has hit several historic unemployment metrics this year including the region’s unemployment rate falling below 3 percent for consecutive months in April and May. The latest figure pegs the metro’s unemployment rate at 3.3 percent.
In June, STF Chief Operating Officer Mark Porter noted the company had reached out to a state agency to see about making Sioux City a primary refugee resettlement community, a process that could take years to come to fruition.
Additionally, STF has been in contact with a local staffing agency, which Porter said was working on creating an EB3 Visa program to bring Vietnamese immigrants to the area.
In May 2018, the company plans to start a second shift, which will increase its total workforce to 2,000.