Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In the news: T-Mobile, drones, and wood products

Three recent news stories cover a range of industries and areas of the state. One thing they have in common: job gains!

The T-Mobile call center in Salem employs more than 600 workers, and expects to add 15 more employees this spring. Celise Vaughn, a T-Mobile spokeswoman, told the Statesman Journal that T-Mobile plans to hire new customer service and sales representatives in April. Get more details about the the company and its hiring process in the full story.

In Central Oregon, builders of unmanned aerial vehicles (a.k.a. drones) have been growing in number. These companies need to test their planes, but have difficulties due to airspace restrictions and the need to avoid private and commercial air traffic. The group Economic Development for Central Oregon is putting forth a proposal to allow drone testing in a remote stretch of airspace outside of Bend. The plan calls for using a portion of the Juniper Military Operations Area on days when fighter jets aren't practicing maneuvers.

Hopefully drone testing will draw even more companies to the area, and help continue to restore some of Central Oregon's lost aviation-related employment. Read more in the Oregon Public Broadcasting report.

Related to our recent posts about funding and a sale to boost the timber industry, an article today from the Register-Guard reports that Lane County lumber and plywood mills are expecting improvement in 2011. Local mill owners say they're planning to work their crews for more hours, and in some cases bring back laid-off workers to meet rising demand.

Seneca Sawmill in Eugene plans to maintain its 265 workers, but increase the hours that were cut back during the recession for employees. The Swanson Group -- which operates mills in Glendale, Roseburg, Noti, and Springfield -- plans to increase the plants' combined employment from 520 to 670 by July. The full story has more details.

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