By Jeanne Sager
WURTSBORO January 1, 2002 Kohls is going to be ready to open its new distribution center this month even if it means interviewing 150 folks a day.
The center began its first wave of interviews last week, hoping to fill at least 250 of the eventually 900 new job openings in Wurtsboro.
Anticipating at least 1,800 replies to its advertisements for jobs, Kohls called in the countys Center for Workforce Development to help distribute applications and began its work.
According to Michael Sullivan, president of the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development which helped bring Kohls to Wurtsboro, folks have been coming in droves to answer the call for work.
They were afraid of getting crushed by so many people coming in for a job, Sullivan explained. So they set up a system where people call a phone number and set up a time for an interview.
Nearly 150 initial interviews are being planned daily to weed through the potential applicants, Sullivan said, and so far Kohls has been extremely pleased with the quality of those applicants.
The center has already hired some local folks in recent months to fill the higher-paying salaried management positions.
Those employees have already been sent to training in Ohio and will be ready when the distribution center opens later this month.
A few employees were also brought in from Kohls other centers.
They did bring a cadre of people, but the overwhelming number are going to local people, Sullivan noted.
There are still hundreds of jobs open to local people, he added, each paying close to $10 or more per hour.
In addition, Kohls is offering hospitalization plans and a 401k package for the new workers, which Sullivan hopes will help raise the bar for employers in Sullivan County.
These are wonderful employers, Sullivan noted. Its going to force the issue with other employers in the county to match Kohls offers.
The outcome might be painful for local employers in the short-term future, Sullivan said, but in the long run could boost the quality of life for employees in the area.
And while there are 900 jobs that will directly be created by Kohls, the centers opening is expected to create employment opportunities for at least 200 more in the transportation field.
Because the company does not have its own fleet of trucks, Sullivan said, Kohls plans to contract with a local trucking firm to manage the transportation of goods from the center to its stores.
And the opening is expected to be beneficial to the county in other ways, Sullivan added.
Many of the employees brought into the area by Kohls have already purchased homes in the area.
The Kohls distribution center is one of the largest employers to ever relocate into Sullivan County, Sullivan said.
The company itself is based in Menomee Falls, Wisc.