A personal protective equipment manufacturer, SafeSource Direct, will open two factories near Lafayette, employing over 1,200 workers. SafeSource announced the investment on Monday, saying it would put $150 million into the project. The company is a partnership between Ochsner Health, Louisiana’s largest hospital system, and Trax Growth, based in Jefferson. SafeSource will manufacture and distribute medical and other supplies in Louisiana and in the United States.
CEO Justin Hollingsworth said in a statement, “COVID-19 brought to light our nation’s dependence on foreign countries, primarily China, for PPE. 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.”
The facility will have many production lines, with nitrile rubber gloves being the primary product. According to officials, the 245 workers in Lafayette Parish will earn an average of $45,300 per year, while the 976 workers in St. Martin Parish will earn an average of $38,000 per year. Construction on the Lafayette Parish plant has started, and it is expected to open this summer. By the end of 2023, all positions should be filled.
Worker preparation and $10.5 million in cash will be provided by the state. SafeSource Direct will also be liable for up to $29 million in payments over the next ten years based on payrolls. The organisation will also save up to 80% on its property taxes for the next ten years.