– USA Pork Packers (UPP) of Hazleton was recently awarded $1 million in state funding through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) to support a large- scale, multiphase expansion of its facilities and operations, according to Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne).
UPP is currently the third largest pork processing company in the Commonwealth and will become the second largest after tripling its operational capacity through the expansion project. The RACP grant will offset costly barriers to this growth and will allow UPP to increase job offerings and workforce training in the community.
“On behalf of the USA Pork Packers, I would like to formally thank Rep. Tarah Toohil and Sen. John Yudichak for their strong leadership and advocacy in securing this grant funding,” said Wayne Kreisl Sr., company president.
The project aims to address a growing need for domestic meat production exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. A three-phased approach will bring this project to fruition, including the construction of several new buildings, machinery, and equipment. With this expansion, UPP will expand its local workforce by over 100 new employees and plans to launch partnerships with other industry leaders to offer workforce training initiatives. Additionally, the project will allow UPP to establish new, “case-ready” product lines, which have substantially increased in demand due to COVID-19 supply chain interruptions.
“We are pleased with this investment grant in the 116th Legislative District and in northeastern Pennsylvania,” Toohil said. “If the COVID-19 pandemic did one thing, it highlighted our need to stabilize food sources across the United States. For the first time in many of our lifetimes, all Pennsylvanians grappled with food insecurity. With these monies, we are investing in the production piece between ‘farm to table’ and stabilizing our food supplies.
“This investment means 116 permanent jobs and 173 spinoff jobs in the region. This new employment will include competitive wages, including some management positions, and will enrich people’s abilities to put food on the table for their families. This project also secures the need for over 500 additional jobs in the construction of the facility. With unemployment numbers still high our community will have another choice for a job opportunity,” added Toohil.
In addition to Toohil’s unwavering support, Yudichak played an integral role in advocating and securing the RACP grant for this vital Hazleton employer.
“The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is a great asset to our Commonwealth, and I am excited to see it benefitting projects in my district,” Yudichak said. “The economic growth that will accompany the USA Pork Packer’s project will become increasingly important to the local community in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”