SK Food Group, Seattle, opened the doors to its new manufacturing facility in Groveport, Ohio, creating 250 jobs with plans to hire more than 400 employees by SK Foods Ohio plantyear’s end.

“Demand is growing faster than anticipated, and we’re projecting solid growth into 2015,” says Steve Sposari, president and CEO. “We appreciate the support we received from both state and local officials, and couldn’t be happier with our choice to open our new facility in Columbus.”

The state-of-the-art, 180,000-square-foot certified food assembly facility has 18 production lines and was designed by leading food and technology experts with the goal of achieving SQF3000 Level 3 certification by December.

The facility features coolers, freezers, dry storage and multiple docking bays, and produces a wide range of custom private label foods, including frozen breakfast sandwiches, wraps and prime Angus burgers. The plant also boasts several energy savings features, including motion-controlled lights, a large recycling program and ongoing initiatives aimed at reducing product packing.

This plant was also chosen to be the first demonstration project site for LeadersUp, a national organization committed to closing the talent-divide between employers and untapped potential of young adults. The LeadersUp program is being administered locally by workforce partner, Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corporation (COWIC). As part of the pilot program, SK Food Group has committed to filling 10-15% of all entry-level positions by youth participating in this innovative job training program.

“The young adults we’ve recruited have proven to be exceptional additions to our Ohio team. They show promising leadership capabilities, and will help us meet our growing workforce needs,” says Sposari. “Already, several of the employees in this program have been promoted. It’s a win for employers who need a highly trained workforce and for younger workers looking for meaningful employment.”