GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — Wisconsin's paper industry has been a bedrock of the state's economy.
And for some companies, business is growing - if they can navigate one pressing concern.
"The biggest challenge will be trying to find people," Georgia-Pacific Public Affairs Manager Mike Kawleski said.
On Thursday, the Broadway Georgia-Pacific mill in Green Bay announced a $500 million expansion that's set to be finished around 2024. And with it, the company is tasked with hiring 150 new employees.
"Modern manufacturing is not maybe the picture that people have of manufacturing," Kawleski said.
In this new day and age, Kawleski says it's time to get creative in the hiring process.
"We will train people, so we'd love to have people with technical skills or maybe a farm background because those folks tend to get involved in mechanical, electrical problem solving," he said.
The latest investment will allow the Broadway Street plant to produce more at-home paper products and boost its employee base to 1,000.
"Probably pretty much any manufacturer, you're going to be making $50,000-plus right off the bat, just because there is such a demand for folks," Kawleski said.
And the Wisconsin Paper Council hopes that money is enough to attract workers.
"These are 30,000-plus men and women that work in our industry throughout the State of Wisconsin," council president Scott Suder said. "And that means jobs, very good paying jobs for our communities."
While the expansion adds even more open roles to a state where many manufacturer's are hiring, industry leaders remain optimistic.
"Wisconsin's workers are amongst the best in the nation," Suder said. "We're the hardest working folks throughout the entire nation if not the world."
The Broadway mill — now owned by Georgia-Pacific — started operations all the way back in 1919. It currently employs around 850 workers.