MARIANNA, Fla. (WTXL) — While many businesses are closing or handing down massive layoffs in response to COVID-19, there is one industry in dire need of new employees as seamstresses quickly fill up factory floors.
Catalyst Fabric Solutions is helping solve two of the largest problems that have come from COVID-19: unemployment and the short supply of PPE.
Catalyst is working to fill the void of masks and protective equipment, but they're also making jobs available, sometimes on the spot.
"To me," said Wanda Eranning, a Catalyst sewing machine operator, "it's an answered prayer."
Wanda Eranning is working her third day as a sewing machine operator.
"I got laid off temporarily at the schools, and the unemployment was so behind I couldn't get in to file for unemployment," said Eranning. "And I need needed to have a job."
In the past three days, Eranning received on-the-job training and is contributing to the thousands of masks and PPE's Catalyst produces each day.
"Being able to be here and part of this, to help our own Americans, especially in the medical field because my daughter is a nurse," Eranning said. "I take a lot of pride in what I'm doing right now."
She's just one of many the company plans to hire to help in the fight against the coronavirus.
"Right now we're looking at hiring 50 to 75 people, and start productions on these masks and hospital gowns," said James King, Catalyst Fabric Solutions operation manager. "That's a conservative number. We might increase that to 100."
With new orders coming in for upwards of 60,000 to 70,000 PPE units a week, King says their focus on bringing in new staff members likely won't wane anytime soon.
Catalyst is accepting applications on-site Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. They're looking for experienced seamstresses, and can also offer on-the-job training for other positions.