CLEWISTON -- A modular home-building company seeking to build a manufacturing plant in Clewiston is having problems finding housing for the employees it will need to build them.
That makes the challenges for Walls Up, the Clewiston-based company, two-fold as it moves forward with building a 120,000 square-foot manufacturing plant that has been in the planning stage for a year at 525 Commerce Court.
The 100-150 future employees Walls Up hopes to hire may very well start their careers with the company by building their own living spaces.
“We have to build houses simultaneously while we build the factory,” Walls Up Founder and CEO Oliver Schlecht said.
Eighty percent of Florida’s population – 16.6 million residents - lives within a 150-mile radius of Clewiston, according to Walls Up website.
In that respect, Walls Up has set its central location and accessibility to Florida’s commercial transportation network means it can efficiently deliver finished products to south and central Florida markets.
Hendry County tax abatements for income and other state and federal incentives also made Clewiston an attractive location for its new plant.
Schlecht said a variety of careers will be available to area workers including IT, robotic/IT, machine and equipment mechanics, architectural, engineering and drafters, sales personnel, construction crane and equipment operators and drivers.
The Clewiston plant will manufacture residential modular homes, which are created with light-gauge recycled steel framing and other "green" materials that produces homes the company claims are superior to typical "stick-built" homes.
The company’s modular principles and precision techniques for home-building are the same as those for assembling airplanes, rockets and automobiles at a fraction of the cost and time of conventional methods, according to Walls Up's website.
The framing provides resilience against severe weather conditions, including hurricanes, while resistant to fire, wood destroying organisms and water damage and won’t warp or decompose like wooden buildings saving a home buyer about 10% in building costs, Schlecht said.
Walls Up helps buyers not only with constructing their homes, but with land acquisition and site preparation while working within the home buyer’s budget.
“Walls Up will not only create employment opportunities but their products may help alleviate housing shortages,” said Keitha Daniels, Hendry County Economic Development Council Director.
“The company promises a quick turnaround time from the time a model is chosen to completion. Their service area will include a 75-mile radius from Clewiston providing more housing options for residents in Glades and Hendry Counties.”
Daniels said the company will be hiring in phases and is posting career opportunities on its website while working with CareerSource SWFL to promote them.
“Until their facility is complete, they will be training employees at the Glades County Regional Training Center,” she said.
Walls Up is the first of many manufacturing and distribution companies coming to Hendry County, Daniels said, adding that the need for skilled employees will continue to rise.
“Manufacturing, and distribution companies are seeing the value that Hendry has to offer due to its location in the state and the expanding logistical networks that continue to develop,” she said.
“Educational opportunities and financial assistance are available locally through the Hendry Workforce Development and Adult Education school. Anyone interested in pursuing a career in one of these fields is encouraged to contact them for more information.”