Andrew Rosenfeld and Leandro Carboni, co-owners and partners of Fiber Industries, LLC., spoke with EDGE about returning textile manufacturing to Darlington, South Carolina, with help from readySC™.
EDGE: How did Fiber Industries get its start in Darlington, SC?
Fiber Industries: Since announcing our arrival in 2017, Fiber Industries (Fiber) has worked to reopen the Palmetto Plant (formerly the Wellman Palmetto Plant) in Darlington. As production ramps up, we plan to hire at least 135 people overall. We set out to rehire about 30 percent of the previous workforce but ended up bringing back over 40 percent.
EDGE: What kind of skills does your workforce need?
FI: Every job on the plant floor is geared toward a specific task, so each of our employees has a different skillset Our team includes a variety of skilled operators who manage every aspect of the manufacturing site. We are currently recruiting engineers and operators.
EDGE: What are some of the benefits that your company has received from readySC’s training and recruitment services?
FI: readySC was a tremendous help in recruiting and training candidates for our workforce. At every step of the vetting process, readySC partnered with us to refine the candidate pool and ensure that those who were offered positions would be prepared to begin working at Fiber. When candidates went through the training provided by readySC, we could observe their performance and discover how they worked, and the readySC instructors were always available to offer their feedback. There were many opportunities for us to share our expectations and views on quality with candidates before making an offer.
EDGE: Are there any unique challenges that readySC and the Technical College System helped overcome?
FI: As a company in its initial operations and at the beginning of the recruitment process, we only had a small group of employees available to review resumes, interview candidates and train new employees. readySC ensured that we were presented with qualified candidates and provided additional resources for us to facilitate interviews.
EDGE: How did your work with readySC ensure that your employees were the right fit for your company?
FI: Working with readySC helped us identify and hire the highly skilled workforce we needed. They did the initial advertising for openings, which allowed us to begin the process with a large candidate pool. As we went through the training process, readySC instructors helped us identify the people who would best fit our needs. Working with readySC ensured that our new employees were able to walk into the facility on their first day with an understanding of Fiber’s work, our company culture and our expectations.
EDGE: Two of your current employees were readySC instructors. Could you tell us how they came on board and are contributing to Fiber Industries’ success?
FI: Both Rick Jones and Barry Taylor had previously worked at the facility, and when Fiber Industries came to reopen the plant, they joined us. Their experience working with readySC opened their eyes to how the organization can help develop a workforce, and they were essential in assisting Fiber in getting the most out of the process.
EDGE: Would you recommend readySC to another company?
FI: We’d recommend readySC in a heartbeat. When a company works with readySC, they get so much insight into the people they are recruiting and getting ready to hire. The readySC staff are professional and genuinely care about providing a high level of service.
Fiber Industries produces mid-tenacity, low-shrinkage products for polyester/cotton blends; workwear fabrics; leadership staple engineered for the knit trade; high-tenacity, optically-brightened staple for woven and industrial applications; high-tenacity, low-shrinkage products for sewing thread; engineered specialty fibers for performance nonwoven applications; and 0.9 to 9.0 denier super white and SDOB for knits, wovens, sewing thread and nonwovens.