The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

March 22, 2013

Lure of ACF jobs attract 600 to employment event

By Ashley Wislock
The Daily Item

— SUNBURY — More than 600 job-seekers filed into CareerLink in Sunbury to apply for work at ACF Industries’ Milton plant on Thursday morning, two days after a similar event drew 281.

Many, like David Vargo, of Montandon, were looking for an opportunity for steady employment during what has been a difficult time to find work.

“(It’s been) very hard,” Vargo said. “Jobs don’t come every day.”

Vargo, a former mason, has been out of work for about six months.

“This would pay the bills and provide benefits,” he said.

Ken Getz, of Paxinos, recently laid off as a truck driver, is also seeking a steady job. He said it’s been difficult getting back into job-searching.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve done it,” he said. “It’s nerve-racking.”

It’s a story heard many times throughout the week. At an event Tuesday, 281 people completed applications, said Terry Kremer, manager at Workforce Temps, Sunbury, which is coordinating ACF’s employee recruitment.

Workforce is planning at least one more application event to accommodate first-shift workers who want to apply for an ACF position. That event will be held from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Central Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce in Milton.

Kremer did not know how many employees ACF was planning to hire, and said pay would vary by position. Most positions would range from $10 to $17 per hour.

ACF Industries closed operations at its Milton manufacturing plant in February 2009, citing a lack of work and furloughing more than 320 workers. The plant, which covers several blocks along Route 405, previously made railroad tank cars, most recently to transport ethanol and biodiesel.

However, with the natural gas industry’s foothold in the region, talk about reopening the plant for the manufacture of tank railcars has been steady in recent months.

That’s good news for skilled labors in the Valley, where manufacturing jobs are more difficult to find than in other parts of the region, said said Sue Snyder, administrator of the PA CareerLink of Northumberland, Union and Snyder counties.

“Manufacturing is weaker in our counties than other counties,” she said. “Often our larger recruitments for manufacturing are seasonal positions. Workforce’s recruitment for ACF has drawn a huge showing particularly since manufacturing positions in our counties are limited.”

ACF is hiring experienced welders, painters, forklift operators, laborers, planers, millwrights, electricians and general laborers, according to an announcement posted on the Central PA Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.