Hundreds of jobs coming to one Eastern Iowa city - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hundreds of jobs coming to one Eastern Iowa city

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Hundreds of jobs coming to one Eastern Iowa City.

Construction is underway in Oelwein on a more than 300,000 square foot manufacturing facility off of New Highway 150 in the Oelwein Industrial Park.

The company, East Penn Manufacturing, based out of Pennsylvania, has had a distribution center in Oelwein for eight years and is now establishing a manufacturing facility that will bring 350 new jobs to the area.

For a city of 6,000, an additional 350 jobs will make a big impact on the economy. Small businesses in downtown Oelwein are excited to see an increase in commerce.
 "Oh yes, we have been waiting for a long time to get the restaurant going and getting more people in town," said Joanna Howell, Manager of Valone's Family Restaurant.

With visible progress on the more than $60-million project, there is a lot of excitement for the future.

 "There is always a trickle down effect. It will bring other industries. It will bring more families, which means a bigger school system. Everybody benefits," said Oelwein Mayor Peggy Sherrets.

Including Iowa construction companies based through out the state, who are doing a majority of the work on the project.

The large facility will manufacture lead-acid batteries and through research the city knows the work force is available.

"Light manufacturing jobs, $17 an hour average and we had about 500 people apply for that. So that showed them we had the workforce available," explained Deb Howard, Oelwein Chamber & Area Development Executive Director.

But it is not just new construction going on, the project will also use a building near the site that was built 8 years ago as part of a telecommunication project that never took off. It will house training new employees.

"So we are very excited. It is going to be the biggest thing to happen to us for a long time," said Howard.

East Penn will be the biggest employer to come to Oelwein since the railroad.

The project will be completed in January of 2018. People interested in a job with the company can already apply online. 

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