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Chaucer Foods hiring now, seeks local workers

Call for information about jobs at Forest Grove food processor

Chaucer Foods, Inc., a global food-processing company preparing to open a facility at 2238 Yew Street in Forest Grove, is in hiring mode.

Jeff King, Forest Grove economic development manager, said Chaucer has so far hired about 30 to 35 workers, including some local residents. King said the city and the company have been working together to find local workers, many of whom are a good fit.

Last spring, the company announced it would open a new freeze-dried food-processing facility in Forest Grove that would create up to 73 jobs. Chris Carlson, human resources manager for Chaucer, told the News-Times the project is currently in its pre-production phase, obtaining equipment for its 85,000-square-foot facility and preparing for actual production.

Carlson wouldn't say how many of the 30-plus hires are local, but he said the numbers are “sufficient for current needs” and that the company would “absolutely be hiring people as they get into the production phase.” If business keeps up, he said, Chaucer will hire even more after that.

Chaucer received tax credits for the project that are intended to spur job creation in economically challenged areas. The plant has been touted as a way to help with Forest Grove's unemployment rate, which at 7.8 percent is slightly higher than Washington County's. Carlson said that he wants to hire people from Forest Grove and nearby communities, but will look elsewhere if need be.

“Ultimately, we have to find the right people for the jobs,” he said.

Chaucer is interested in candidates with backgrounds in warehousing or food production, said Carlson. The labor market has been surprisingly tight, he said, but he's still attracting good candidates. Already he has a binder that's two- to three-inches thick with resumes and applications.

Carlson said Chaucer is working with WorkSource Oregon, a service provided by the state Employment Department that connects job-seekers with jobs, to find new hires for its expansion. It's also working with the City of Forest Grove to help get the word out.

King said that Chaucer is still working to clear some regulatory hurdles and expects to have the new facility up and running by year's end.


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