BROUSSARD, La.—America's push to become less dependent on foreign-made rubber gloves is continuing with a pair of new personal protective equipment manufacturing projects in Louisiana expected to add more than 1,200 new direct jobs.
SafeSource L.L.C. will invest $150 million to develop two sites in Lafayette Parish and St. Martin parishes.
A total of $73 million will go toward the renovation of an existing 80,000-sq.-ft. location in Lafayette Parish that also will house the company's headquarters. Another $77 million will be spent on construction of a 400,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing site in St. Martin Parish.
The new construction, located on 49 acres in Broussard, will focus on production of nitrile gloves but also produce other types of PPE. Employment eventually will reach 976 jobs with an average annual salary of $38,000.
The renovated location, also in Broussard, will provide a variety of PPE, including surgical tie masks, hair covers, shoe covers, isolation gowns, procedure masks and N95 masks. Another 245 new jobs will come from this location with an average salary of $45,300.
While the separate sites are in different parishes, they are both within Broussard. Portions of the small city are situated within both parishes.
"COVID-19 brought to light our nation's dependence on foreign countries, primarily China, for PPE," SafeSource Direct CEO Justin Hollingsworth said in a statement. "By manufacturing right here in Lafayette and St. Martin parishes, and selling directly, SafeSource Direct will be positioned to eliminate the lag times, uncertainty and frustration that plague international manufacturing and shipping."
Work is under way on the project with operations expected to begin in the third quarter in the smaller location. That site is expected to be at full staffing by the end of 2023.
"Our hope is that these facilities will lay the foundation for more independently sustainable health systems in the U.S.," Hollingsworth said.
Along with the 1,221 new jobs at SafeSource Direct, economic development officials indicate another 992 indirect new jobs are on their way.
SafeSource Direct is a joint venture created by Ochsner Health and Trax Development. Ochsner Health is the state's largest non-profit academic health care system with 40 hospitals and more than 100 heath centers and urgent care facilities. SafeSource Direct's CEO, Hollingsworth, is an official with Trax Development, according to that company's website.
SafeSource Direct is receiving state incentives for both sides, including a $2.5 million performance-based grant for the Lafayette Parish location and an $8 million performance-based grant for the St. Martin Parish facility.
"The company also is expected to utilize the state's Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs," the state said.
Louisiana also will help find workers and provide training through the state's LED FastStart employment program.