New jobs are coming after Applied Material bought a building in Evergreen that has been empty for four years.
The company has bought the former Shopko building and will begin full semiconductor-plating manufacturing production in the 100,000-square-foot complex next month.
The new factory, which will be the third Applied Materials location in the Flathead Valley, will bring 200 new jobs to the area.
Over the previous two years, the semiconductor plating company has added thousands of staff to all of its locations, which include offices in Austin, Texas, and Singapore.
Dennis McHaffie, the vice president of business operations for Applied Materials, said “The demand has never been greater (for microchips).
“We can’t ship them fast enough – we’re having all of the right problems.” at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Evergreen on May 4.
The expansion of Applied Materials will bring hundreds of new employment to the valley, and business executives have already begun recruiting staff for their other locations.
As per Montana Site General Manager Brian Aegerter, there are now 50 employment positions for Kalispell’s two existing campuses, with 200 more for the new location in Evergreen to be filled over the next year and a half.
Aegerter says the company has been hosting weekly job fairs and recruitment efforts have been gaining strides in the last few weeks.
Most job openings are for manufacturing positions, Aegerter said, which include benefits and range from $17 per hour to almost $30 per hour, depending on experience.
While the valley continues to struggle to recruit and keep employees, Kalispell Mayor Mark Johnson addressed at the ceremony, assuring the audience that local government agencies are doing everything they can to provide more housing for potential employees, which is still a problem.
“As we grow as a community, we have a lot of challenges,” Johnson said. “We have to hire 200 new people for this building and that is the next challenge. We are doing what we can to deliver housing.”
In addition to workforce limitations, Applied Materials is dealing with supply chain issues as a result of factory shutdowns in China and the conflict in Ukraine.
Aegerter said. “Supply chain issues are getting worse actually the interdependency on the supply chain has become a problem. When one area has a problem, the ripple effect is amplified.”