CRYSTAL LAKE – Covidien, one of McHenry County's largest employers, is about to get bigger.
The Crystal Lake manufacturer held a job fair Thursday at its plant at 815 Tek Drive.
The company, which currently employs nearly 400 full-time employees in Crystal Lake, has more than 100 new job openings in manufacturing, maintenance, engineering, quality assurance, and injection molding. "That's just to name a few of them," said Meghan Peters, human resources manager.
The job openings are the result of a new product line of syringes being brought to the Crystal Lake plant. The plant currently manufactures sharps disposal containers.
"We've really highly publicized the event and tried to get the word out there," Peters said of the job fair. "We're hoping to attract a wide variety of people on a lot of different shifts."
Dozens of jobseekers were lined up outside the company when the job fair opened at noon Thursday.
Among those standing in line was Tim Peterson, 35 of Cary. He was looking for a job in shipping/receiving or warehouse, "something in that range." Peterson said he has been out of a job for three weeks. He said he was hopeful about his chances about landing a job at Covidien. "I've got to keep trying, just like everyone else does."
Patrick Bothbroyd, 52, of Cary has been unemployed since last summer. "I was doing labor for carpentry. For 29 years before that I did maintenance of food equipment, service, installation, things of that nature," he said.
"I'm pretty much looking for anything I can get my hands on," Bothbroyd said. "I'm hoping for the best."
Jason Solis, 34, of Crystal Lake has been out of work for three years. He said he was looking for factory work. "I used to work construction," he said. "I'm looking for something a little less strenuous."
Nick Szybowicz, 23, of Lake in the Hills works part-time at Target. He said he was looking for a full-time job, perhaps in injection molding. "I did not go to school for injection molding but I'm always willing to learn."
John Witek, 53, of Woodstock also was interested in injection molding. "That's what I was into for over 10 years." He said he was working third shift when he was let go a year and a half ago.
Technical skills were an area of concern for Covidien plant manger Rui Dos Santos.
"An area where we do struggle at times is to get the right kind of technical skill, especially when it comes to injection molding, which is really a core competency for this site," he said. "Sometimes it's a little difficult to find technical expertise, especially in the hourly capacity, in the local area," he said.
Santos said Covidien has been partnering with McHenry County College "to see what we can do to try to develop some of those skills."
Overall, though, he said the pool of local talent has been beneficial to the plant.
"We've been very pleased and impressed with the quality of the work that we see from our employees – their engagement, their commitment, their technical skills," Santos said.
Santos said moving the syringe lines to Crystal lake from a plant in Texas was a "good strategic move."
"This site's had a very rich history of being able to lead and manage large-scale projects. This is a great way to diversify what we already do here in Crystal Lake," Santos said.
"There are some fantastic opportunities here for the site in terms of expansion," he said. "I think it's a very exciting time for the facility as well as the local community. Creating 100 new jobs is tremendous. We're very pleased to be doing that here in Crystal Lake."
Santos said the project is "well under way," and he expects syringe production to start in the next six months.
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Covidien is a global health-care products company that manufactures, distributes and services medical devices, pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. Revenue in 2012 was $11.9 billion,
Covidien has 43,000 employees worldwide in 70 countries, and its products are sold in more than 140 countries.
For more information, visit www.covidien.com.