Pet-food maker Nestle Purina is looking to fill dozens of positions in the Quad-Cities area to support new processing and packaging lines to meet a growing demand from pet owners for nutritious pet foods.
Both the Clinton and Davenport locations are hiring for roles in maintenance, logistics and administration.
"Based on the needs of our customers and what our customers are asking for, the Davenport and Clinton facilities have the capability to make those products that are in high demand right now," said Erin Clark, human resources manager at Purina in Davenport.
Purina employs approximately 1,000 people in the Quad Cities, and as a result of strong business growth over the last few years, the company added more than 100 new employees at its Clinton factory and more than 140 people at its Davenport factory in 2020. The Clinton factory also kicked off a $140 million expansion in May 2020, which will add new processing and packaging lines to produce Purina’s pet food products.
The new processing and packaging areas are expected to be commissioned near the end of 2021 and in full operation in 2022.
The expansion will result in a total of 60 additional jobs added at the facility, which currently employs nearly 500 people, according to the company.
"The labor market has been pretty strong," Clark said. "We've seen talent in the area and we've had a really laser focus on our interviewing and our recruiting efforts. ... And it's a strong effort right now. We're not seeing gaps in that sector. It's good for our community, and we're finding the talent that we're looking for."
That includes salaried positions in finance, accounting, human resources, quality assurance, engineering, manufacturing, logistics and operations.
"Davenport and Clinton have traditionally been flagship operations within our pet food division and also have training programs for our management teams that are based out of those two factories," Clark said. "So we are actively recruiting for those management/development positions right now. ... From the salaried side, we're kind of on the lookout for technical positions in manufacturing ... and our basic qualifications tend to lean toward a bachelor's degree in those fields."
Additionally, the company has open hourly positions it is trying to fill for production operators.
"The basic qualifications are a high school degree," with some level of experience working in a warehouse and as a forklift operator, Clark said. "For our technical positions, such as maintenance, we really look for that technical skill set, so someone who has experience working around equipment and machinery, even someone with a military background or has experience in agriculture. Those skills tend to transfer over very well into being successful in working in our environment."
Clinton and Davenport are both considered training facilities, "so you don't necessarily have to have a huge amount of work experience in manufacturing," Clark said.
"We can teach people how to make pet food. It's the other skills set we are looking for," she said.
Those include curiosity, critical thinking and problem solving skills "and motivation to be self-sufficient," Clark said. "That, paired with backgrounds in manufacturing, agriculture, military -- those are all places where we have found talent in the past."
Purina doesn’t publicly share salary ranges for open positions, but offers competitive wages and benefits, including a 401K match program and medical, dental and vision insurance, Clark said.
Additionally, the company offers a financial incentive to help with the adoption of a pet and parental support policy that provides 18 weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child.
For more information about careers and open positions at Purina, visit purinajobs.com/QCTimes.