A major company is bringing new opportunities to a city plagued by unemployment.
ACTS Industries announced they will open its international headquarters in Camden. The firm leased a warehouse at River Avenue and State Street. Officials with the company say the move will bring 1,000 jobs to the area.
The company specializes in creating prefabricated homes for national and international clients, typically used after a natural disaster or where space and natural resources are a premium.
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Officials also say they would give preference in their hiring to Camden residents and the formerly incarcerated. The news brings hope to a city dealing with a 19% unemployment rate.
“We’re looking to drive that number down,” said Camden Mayor Dana Redd. “That’s why we’re working with the NJ Economic Opportunity Act to not only retain jobs here in Camden but to expand some of the businesses and create new jobs to bring them into the city.”
The company held its ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday and began accepting applications on site around 2 p.m. Job seekers were already on line hours before that however.
“With the poverty level in the inner city right now, especially Camden, this is something that we need,” said Norman Carter.
“It means a lot to a lot of people who have been convicted before and things of that nature,” said Jose Maties. “You don’t get a second chance.”
Amir Khan, who is running for Mayor of Camden, says he was instrumental in bringing ACTS to Camden.
“When I caught wind of Act Industries LLC as well as construction giant Irv Richter were in search for a home for their international headquarters, I thought to myself, ‘why not Camden?’” Khan wrote in a press release. “I reached out immediately. I was told there original plan was to set up shop in Mississippi. Upon special request they agreed to see what Camden could offer. We drove through the city, we met the people together, we showed them the building they currently occupy, I showed them the current state of the city, and most important we shared in a new vision of what Camden could be. The Mississippi plans have changed.”
Both Khan and his campaign volunteers attended the ribbon cutting ceremony. The CEO of ACTS says the company signed a lease for five years and will remain in Camden regardless of whether or not Khan is elected however.
According to the Daily Journal, funding for the facility will come from private, state and federal sources. It's set to open within nine months.