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Plant expansions bring jobs to Aiken, Bamberg counties

Haley jobs

Gov. Nikki Haley was in Denmark, S.C., Thursday to celebrate the upcoming plant expansions, which are expected to bring more than 300 jobs to the area. (WRDW-TV / July 21, 2011)

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / July 21, 2011

DENMARK, S.C. -- Two plant expansions in both Aiken county and Denmark are bringing in more than 300 jobs to South Carolina.

People in the Palmetto State are getting excited for some change.

Masonite is opening another facility in Denmark, while Bridgestone is expanding its plant in Aiken.

"Thank God we have something good going here," said S.C. Rep. Bakari Sellers, D-Bamberg, during an official announcement Thursday.

That is what a lot of people in Denmark are thinking. With several plant closures over the past few years, the community is hurting and in the need of something good.

William Jacobs is a Masonite employee and is optimistic about the news.

"We have a lot of people that don't have jobs, so when we get this 200 jobs, this will really help out our friends, neighbors," Jacobs said.

Jacobs has lived in the area for years and knows it needs more business.

"Maybe this will make some companies look at Bamberg and Denmark, maybe that will get some things rolling," Jacobs said. "From the people I know, we have a really good workforce, but there is nothing to do around here."

A good workforce is something S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley says she believes in.

"What I want the people of Bamberg County and this entire area to know is: More is coming, because we need it, and the people here are good workers," Haley said.

Masonite employee Katrina Davis is ready to pass this message onto to her own family members in need of jobs.

"As soon as they open up, I will let them know about it and they can probably put in applications now," Davis said.

The new Masonite facility is launching an automated system where the employees will not have to make doors by hand anymore. The plant is expected to be operational by early 2013.

The Bridgestone changes are in the near future, too. Its plant will start producing an extra 5,000 tires a day by spring 2013, which is a $135 million investment.

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