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Gov. Bev Perdue recently announced that Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer products companies, will expand its manufacturing facility in Hoke County with the creation of 65 jobs and an investment of $35 million during the next three years in Raeford. The project was made possible in part by a $195,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund.
“Our hard-charging job creation strategy is focused on more than bringing new companies into North Carolina,” Gov. Perdue said. “Companies like Unilever that already have operations in North Carolina see that we are pushing policies that maintain our strong business climate, skilled workforce and excellent training programs. They feel at home expanding here.”
Unilever’s Raeford facility currently employs 275 and manufactures a mix of deodorants, body washes and shampoos under the brand names Dove, AXE, Caress, Suave and Degree for the North American market. The project will upgrade the facility to increase manufacturing and processing capacity and flexibility for Unilever’s personal care business.
“Our Raeford facility will make effective use of this generous grant by providing the necessary training to our new hires as part of our site expansion,” said Georgia Szewczak, Raeford supply leader. “We are very grateful for the support of the One North Carolina Fund program to further drive our own competitiveness in the market as well as provide jobs and additional tax revenue to the local region.”
The One NC Fund provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds. These grants also require and are contingent upon local matches.
“Hoke County needed this kind of boost after being hit hard by the recession,” said Sen. Michael Walters, of Fairmount. “We have worked nonstop alongside Governor Perdue to create every job we can in North Carolina.”
“This is what happens when we ignore the critics who say ‘cut, cut, cut,’ and instead hold true to our values and continue to invest in education and worker training,” said Rep. Garland Pierce, of Wagram. “We are able to build the kind of educated workforce and infrastructure that fuel the growth of companies like Unilever.”
North Carolina continues to have a top-ranked business climate. Through Gov. Perdue’s JobsNOW initiative, the state works aggressively to create jobs, train and retrain its workforce, and lay the foundation for a strong and sustainable economic future.
Through use of the One NC Fund, more than 50,000 jobs and $9 billion in investment have been created since 2001. Other partners that helped with this project include: the N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Community Colleges, the City of Raeford, Hoke County and Hoke County Economic Development.
For more information about Unilever, including job opportunities, go to www.unileverusa.com.