Carolinas Cement held its second public workshop Tuesday night to answer questions about the proposed Castle Hayne plant. Although there were several information tables, most attention seemed to be focused on the environment and employment. The Employment Opportunities table hosted a number of visitors at the public workshop. Sarah Cox is not looking for a job here, but she came to gather facts. "I think one of the concerns and one of the draws for people would be that it offers employment opportunities, but are those employment opportunities for people here in the area or is that going to pull for more people. What I found out is it would be a lot more skilled workforce and it would be two to five years before jobs could even be created," said Cox. Carolinas Cement's GM of Development, Bob Odom, said the plant would have 160 job openings - ideally for local workers. At this point, there's just one problem. "If we opened the plant today we could not staff it with the Wilmington or the New Hanover County people. We have to get them trained and we're working with Cape Fear Community College," said Odom. Odom added that the jobs would have an average salary of $75,000. He said a couple applications come in each day, but they are still a year out before they hire. Elli Klein attended the workshop and said, "There are jobs and we need the resources, but on the other hand, what does it do to the kind of environment that people have to live in?" Odom said, "We trying to get the facts out, there's still so much uncertainty out there, people are reading some misstatements or some people are just scared. I think they're scared because they don't know the information." Many people came Tuesdaylooking for that information. There were others who have their minds made up. "What they're really doing here is not a public information forum, it's a show and tell," said Tracy Skrabal from the North Carolina Coastal Federation. Bob Odom said he and his co-workers feel confident about the project and he was happy with last night's turnout of about 100 people. The final workshop will be October 27, 2008 at UNCW's Executive Development Center on Military Cutoff Road.
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