Watchers of Elkins' economy were floored by Monday's announcement of the addition of nearly150 new jobs to the ranks of a local housing materials manufacturer.
Armstrong Worldwide Industries reported Monday that it will add 145 new jobs to its Beverly plant, according to Jennifer Johnson, the company's senior manager of corporate communications and public affairs.
The floor, ceiling and cabinet manufacturer has scheduled four open houses to recruit qualified applicants to fill the open slots, Johnson said. The open houses will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and on Dec. 15, Jan. 5 and Jan. 19 at the Beverly plant on Route 250. Additional February dates will be added if necessary.
"We're seeing new home construction improve a bit, and we believe it'll continue to improve," Johnson said. "Since our wood flooring business is tied to new home construction, we're adding back shifts in Beverly to anticipate our customers' needs."
Armstrong, which has been a fixture in Beverly for more than two decades, is in search of diligent workers eager to learn.
"We offer competitive wages, excellent benefits and a positive working environment committed to safety and quality," Johnson said. "There's an opportunity here for almost anyone who is willing to learn and work."
Robbie Morris, executive director of the Randolph County Development Authority, said he was pleased with the addition of so many jobs to the county's work force. Armstrong's products are in such high demand that the company deemed it necessary to add enough workers to staff a third 3 to 11 p.m. shift, he said.
"They can't produce enough flooring up there now," Morris said Monday. "The fact that they're hiring this many people up there is just great. I'm very pleased."
Morris also attributed the company's success, in part, to the recent turnaround in the housing market.
"A lot of it has to do with the housing market - the numbers have been increasing over the last few months," he aid. "In fact, the economy as a whole has been improving over the last few months."
"I'd like to congratulate Armstrong's managers and its employees for their hard work and what they do at the plant," Morris added. "Armstrong is one of the anchors of the Randolph County economy."
Armstrong currently employs 575 at its Beverly location.
Based in Lancaster, Pa., Armstrong World Industries was founded in 1860 and runs 32 plants in eight countries, according to its website.