Ice cream plant donates $12K to West Tenn. high school program - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ice cream plant donates $12K to West Tenn. high school program

(WMC-TV) - Unilever, which is based in Covington, is on track to become the world's largest ice cream plant. It is taking steps to make sure qualified workers are available to fill the jobs at the growing facility.

The company is adding hundreds of jobs to the West Tenn. economy. It is also training new workers to fill the jobs.

In an effort to help train the future ice cream experts, Unilever donated $12,000 to a program that will give high school juniors and seniors dual enrollment at Dyersburg State Community College.

The program will help eligible high school students earn college credit before high school graduation.

"What we're really lacking is a skilled workforce," said Unilever Manufacturing Director Larry Gibson.

Students will take classes in safety, manufacturing, and quality control, among other things.

"Kids in high school can learn fundamentals of the factory because we really want people to work safely," said Gibson. "We want people to make a quality product and work in an advanced industrial network."

So far, 29 students from Brighton and Covington high schools are enrolled in the courses at Dyersburg State.

Last September, Unilever announced plans to expand its workforce to nearly 1,000 people.

"Sheer excitement. I'm a Covington native and to be part of this investment in the community, the investment in the people, and in our future ... it's a dream come true," said Marques Young, who works at Unilever.

Unilever says its goal is to fill the jobs with qualified workers who will also reinvest in their communities.

To find out what jobs are currently open at Unilever, click here:

Tennessee also has a new program called "Drive to 55", which helps educate residents and send them into the workforce. To learn more about the "Drive to 55" program, click here:

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