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Mayor, Congressman Announce New Jobs in West Louisville

Monday October 17, 2011

Mesa Foods hires 80 employees using KentuckianaWorks training funds

Mayor Greg Fischer and Congressman John Yarmuth met today with Mesa Foods Inc. President Ted Longacre, company officials and some of the new hires at the company’s production facility in West Louisville. The plant, which produces corn and flour tortillas, chips, flat bread and pizza crusts and dinner kits, is located at 3701 W. Magnolia Ave.

Over the past few months, Mesa Foods has added 80 new jobs through an on-the-job training program with KentuckianaWorks, Greater Louisville’s Workforce Investment Board. All new hires have received on-the-job training, and KentuckianaWorks is reimbursing Mesa for 50 percent of the new employees’ wages during the 10-week training period.

The cost of the on-the-job training at Mesa is $120,000. KentuckianaWorks paid for its share of the cost with federal funding through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Investment Act and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

“The creation of 80 new jobs at Mesa Foods is an example of the positive results that come when the federal government and the private sector work together to spur economic growth. With the support of federal investments, KentuckianaWorks and Mesa Foods have teamed up to help dozens of unemployed Louisvillians gain the skills needed to enter the workforce and build a stronger future for their families and our community,” said Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-03).

“My top priority is to put our citizens back to work,” Fischer said. “This innovative program helps Mesa Foods grow and increase production, while giving residents in West Louisville an opportunity to be trained for entry-level jobs that are close to home. Gaining skills in food production can lead to better jobs as food and beverage manufacturing becomes a bigger employer in this region.”

“Today's news is significant not only for Mesa Foods, but for the growing food and beverage industry in Louisville," said Joe Reagan, President and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. - The Metro Chamber of Commerce. “GLI and our partners at the city and state are working to strategically grow this key industry, which employs more than 10,000 people in our region. Greater Louisville is home to genuine assets that can help companies like Mesa grow, from its strategic location and global networks to its workforce and industry expertise. We are excited that Mesa is helping lead the growth for Louisville's food and beverage industry.”

The new Mesa Foods employees were hired as General Production Packers for two production lines. One line was retooled for taco shell production. The other new line is for flour tortilla production and packaging the tortillas in dinner kits.

The new workers are earning $9.20 an hour and are paid overtime rates after 40 hours per week. The company also offers benefits after a 45-day probationary period for employees averaging 35 or more hours a month.

“We have been very pleased with the quality of employees we have hired through this partnership,” said Longacre, Mesa Foods President. “Many employees completed 32 hours of job readiness training provided by KentuckianaWorks prior to interviewing with Mesa Foods. This training expedited the aggressive production ramp-up schedule Mesa was required to meet by our customer. Once at Mesa, new employees completed basic skills and on-the-job training in using the equipment to produce and package our wide range of products.”

In October 1984, Mesa Foods Products was incorporated as a Kentucky corporation. Mesa was formed with the single purpose of producing quality tortilla products at a competitive price. The company was privately owned until 1998. From May 1998 until September 2008, the facility operated under the name of Casa de Oro Foods LLC.

On Sept. 29, 2008, the facility was purchased by Longacre, Charles Kraut, vice president of technology, and Charles Sinon, vice president of sales. The company began operating under the name of Mesa Foods Inc. Presently, Mesa produces corn and flour products for restaurants, grocery stores, national accounts, food service and private label segments. Products are distributed throughout the continental United States.