Procter and Gamble in Martinsburg has hired its first 26 employees and expects close to 300 by the end of 2017. Those employees will work at the manufacturing facility being built in the Eastern Panhandle that was announced last year.
Since breaking ground in September 2015, construction for the 25th Procter and Gamble site in the United States is well underway.
The facility will be the company’s first in West Virginia and the largest P&G manufacturing site built in a decade. When it’s completed, it’ll cover more than one million square feet.
P&G employees will be manufacturing products in Martinsburg like Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Bounce, and Old Spice Body Wash.
By fall 2019, company representatives say they expect the facility to employ around 700 people in total.
The first 26 employees were hired over the last three months.
32 year-old Scott Johnson is one of them. Johnson is an Air Force veteran and formerly a mechanic from Beckley. He was hired as a plant technician and moved to Hedgesville with his family in 2015.
He says he chose to move to the Eastern Panhandle because of economic opportunities.
“We’ve talked about, you know when I was growing up, man I wish we had some of the stuff like the bigger areas for manufacturing jobs," Johnson noted, "and we’ve always talked about, man I wish we had some factories or something to work at, like some of these other areas, and it’s just great to finally see something this large coming here, and it’ll attract others I think.”
P&G is also working with Blue Ridge Community and Technical College to train its new workforce. The company will pay their employees to go through a specialized program developed for the site.
The first bit of concrete is expected to be poured on the Martinsburg site in January.
*Correction: This post was updated on December 14, 2016 to reflect the Martinsburg Procter and Gamble site as the 25th P&G plant built in the United States. A correction was also made to reflect "Old Spice Body Wash" as a brand that will be manufactured on the site.