JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson traveled to Jonesboro on Wednesday for an important announcement.
Thanks to a partnership with Walmart, the Nice-Pak location in Jonesboro is adding 30 additional jobs.
Plant Manager for Nice-Pak, Stanley Lichucki, said this is part of the campaign by Walmart to bring jobs back to the United States.
"We're honored to partner up with Walmart for the Made in America campaign," Lichucki said. "This is supporting bringing back billions of jobs to the United States for produced products here in the United States."
Walmart released an initiative to commit to purchase at least $250 billion in additional products supporting American jobs.
Gov. Hutchinson said the commitment is an exciting opportunity for Arkansas.
"This is very amazing," Hutchinson said. "Whenever you have a partnership between Nice-Pak and Walmart to expand jobs and opportunity for producing here in the United States of America. Walmart's commitment to $250 billion to invest in U.S. manufacturing. Bringing jobs back to the United States is significant. And then we see the reality of it with increased jobs right here in Jonesboro, Arkansas."
Lichucki said Nice-Pak is no stranger to Walmart.
"We continue to partner with Walmart," Lichucki said. "And we've been partnering with them for the last 25 years. As such, we've grown business with them. Here, we supported and added 30 more jobs at the beginning of the year. We installed a new manufacturing line this year."
Nice-Pak is a global leader in wet wipe manufacturing.
"You name it we produce it when it comes to wet wipes," Lichucki said. "We produce hard surface wipes, baby wipes, moist tissues, facial wipes. We also have a PDI, Private Disposal Industries, who produce a lot of the pharmaceutical and hospital type wipes."
Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin said he's excited to see the growth happening at Nice-Pak.
"The economic impact to our people is incredible," Mayor Perrin said. "I think you heard how many employees are here now. More importantly, what I heard this morning is a new line will be established in 2018 to add additional employees here. So, that's incredible. And we just keep adding and that's what's good. You get a company to come to Jonesboro that's a good corporate citizen and they keep on adding more employees. That's an incredible economic impact. Because these folks spend money. They do things in town. And we're just delighted to have them."
"It's an awesome opportunity for us," Lichucki said. "When I think about manufacturing, I think about Jonesboro. We have a lot of industry here in this area. The workforce is solid. There are a lot of people who are dedicated and want to do the right thing and make product here in the United States versus sending it overseas. And this is obviously where the quality is."
Gov. Hutchinson said Arkansas' economy is looking up.
"Right now, we have a 3.4% unemployment rate," Hutchinson said. "We have really increased jobs in Arkansas. More than 60,000 jobs have been produced since I've been Governor. Many of those are the manufacturing sector. So, we have a diverse economy from agriculture, tourism, but manufacturing is a key part of it. We've got a workforce that understands manufacturing. We lost a lot of that back in the 90's, whenever we had others jobs going overseas. We're bringing those back. We've recruited industry from China. We've recruited industry from the Northeast right here to Arkansas. Those are manufacturing jobs. Those are good paying jobs and I want to increase that effort."
And the additional jobs wasn't the only announcement made on Wednesday.
Lichucki said another line is on the way.
"We're happy to announce we've got another manufacturing line going in at the end of this year in December," Lichucki said. "It will also compliment with another group of individuals here in Jonesboro. The new line we're going to produce is a facial line. It also helps support some of the Wal Mart business as well as other facial type products. It's a facial wet wipe line."
Lichucki said Walmart also recognized Nice-Pak this year as their being their private label Supplier of the Year Award.
"We're going to continue to grow," Lichucki said. "We're going to continue to invest in this area. This is one of the biggest manufacturing plants that we have and we're going to continue to grow and expand. With partnerships such as Walmart, we can do that."
There are currently 300 employees working at the Nice-Pak location in Jonesboro.
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