Unilever plant in Jonesboro jobs announcement

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Today Gov. Mike Beebe (D-Ar.) , Unilever plant employees and local civic leaders officially welcomed Unilever to Jonesboro.

Unilever, a major manufacturer of food and hair-care brands such as Ben & Jerry's, Lipton, Suave, St. Ives, Just for Me and Soft & Beautiful, is investing $40 million into the expansion of its Jonesboro facility and adding 125 jobs to the local plant. 
Gov. Beebe attributed the expansion decision to local leadership, the location of the plant and the local workforce.  "(The workforce) sets an example and you make all of us look better than we are."
Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce President Mark Young agreed. "This announcement would not have occurred if we didn't have a prepared, capable quality workforce, and it's exciting for our community."

Manufacturing company Alberto Culver built the $64 million, 475,000 square foot facility in 2008, and began operations with 200 employees.  Unilever acquired the plant in 2010, and now employs about 400 people. 

Employee George Smith hopes the investment will ease the transition to becoming one of Unilever's three major operation sites in Arkansas.  "We have a lot of people, but we're not utilizing the equipment like it should be," he said.
Unilever's other major operation sites are the Skippy Peanut Butter warehouse in Little Rock and a customer development site in Rogers for Walmart and Sam's Club.
Unilever expects to complete the expansion and workforce increase by late 2012.
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