[wiaattorneys] FW: Family Dollar and Government Services in TX

  • From: "Mason, Paul (LABOR)" <Paul.Mason@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <wiaattorneys@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2005 16:55:44 -0400

Here's one example of where drug testing was allowed in the One-Stops.

Title: Workforce ATM

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Texas Workforce Commission

Permian Basin team helps Family Dollar get more bang for their buck

September 2003 - Article from "Texas@Work"
Contact: Lesley Tarpinian, Editor at 512/463-0221

Family Dollar's new $50 million distribution center in Odessa officially commenced operations recently with a lot of help from the Permian Basin Workforce Development Board.

"One of the keys to building a stronger Texas economy lies in the recruitment of major employers that create new jobs for Texans," said TWC Commissioner Ron Lehman. "The Family Dollar story that has unfolded in Odessa over the last several years is a great example for workforce and economic development professionals throughout the state."

Company officials estimate that when fully operational, the distribution center will employ from 400 to 500 workers with an annual payroll that will exceed $10 million. Local economic experts agree that the overall economic impact of the center will be several times that amount in the years to come, with taxable spending alone expected to exceed $130 million in the first 10 years of operation.

"Odessa, Texas is an ideal location for our seventh distribution center," said R. David Alexander Jr., president and chief operating officer for Family Dollar. "This location offers outstanding access to major highways, and the community has good availability of labor and an excellent work ethic."

North Carolina-based Family Dollar, operates more than 4,800 discount stores in 43 states throughout the country. The new distribution center in Odessa is the company's newest of seven and will serve as the central supply distributor for Family Dollar stores in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.

One of the most critical factors in enticing a major employer like Family Dollar is the incentive package the community can offer the new business. Family Dollar began its search for a suitable site to build its new distribution center several years ago.

When the company first showed an interest in building in Odessa, local government agencies, state workforce and economic development officials, including staff from the Permian Basin board, and other interested community partners immediately pulled together. The various parties worked to pool resources and contribute creative ideas to develop an incentive package that would be too good for Family Dollar to pass up. The innovative ideas transitioned ultimately into a distribution center that received its first shipment, ahead of schedule, on June 2, 2003.

"This project required and continues to require new and different thinking on working together as a community," said Debbie Mace, Permian Basin board operations specialist. "Partnership was truly a key to our success; together, we came up with solutions we'd never have discovered separately."

All of the local taxing entities were called upon to provide some incentive for the company to choose Odessa as the location for the new distribution center. The city and the Odessa Development Corporation leveraged the one-quarter cent sales tax for economic development in the amount of nearly $4 million in tax incentives, and job creation and infrastructure grants. Ector County provided part of the funds needed for a fire suppression system, and the worker-hours and equipment for a drainage ditch extension on the property. Odessa College provided the expertise and handling of the application process for the workforce training grant included in the package. The total value of the incentive package comes to more than $12 million over the next 10 years. That was good enough for Family Dollar, which signed an agreement with local officials in July 2002. A groundbreaking ceremony was held August 16, 2002.

"We were extremely excited about Family Dollar choosing to come to Odessa,"? said Mace. "Of course that's when the real work began."

The Permian Basin workforce centers' main role was to assist Family Dollar with staffing and training. Workforce centers in Odessa, Midland, Big Spring, Pecos and Fort Stockton took initial applications and administered profile surveys. This application process began in January 2003, and more than 8,000 phone and written applications were received through May, by which time more than 100 workers had already been hired. The Odessa center also provided Family Dollar with the use of offices, computers, fax machines, telephones, copy machines and a break area. Family Dollar has been able to depend on the center for applicant interviews and drug testing as well. Additionally, the Permian Basin board helped secure a $302,000 grant from TWC to develop an on-the-job training program with Family Dollar to upgrade workers' skill levels.

Throughout the process, all of the impacted organizations, including Odessa College, the city of Odessa, Ector County, the workforce centers and the Permian Basin board met regularly with the company in order to maintain relationships and address any challenges. The Permian Basin board continues to assist Family Dollar with staffing and training.

"Family Dollar knows it can count on us for whatever they need, for as long as they're here, which we hope and expect to be a long, long time," said Mace.

Family Dollar officials were very pleased with the field of applicants and the wide array of services provided by Permian Basin board staff.

"We were extremely impressed with all the services that the Permian Basin workforce team provided us," said Erin Easterling, recruiting manager for Family Dollar's Distribution and Logistics Division. "We're really looking forward to a continued partnership with them and the entire Permian Basin community in the future."

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