Mar. 21—Katie Gibson needed to find new work when the call center she worked at was sold and began downsizing last year.
The 32-year-old Riverside mother of two applied at Lion Group Inc., which opened a first responder clothing manufacturing plant in Dayton in 2019. She hadn’t sewn since a home economics class at Stebbins High School.
“So it had been a very long time,” Gibson said. “I was nervous for not having any experience.”
Lion hired her and sent Gibson for a week of training at the Dayton Sewing Collaborative in March. Gibson loves her new job.
“The company itself is really passionate about their employees,” Gibson said. “I’ve never worked for a company that works as hard to make sure their employees are happy and well taken care of.”
Lion Group’s corporate headquarters was already in Montgomery County when it decided to open a manufacturing plant here. The company worked with JobsOhio, which pays the Dayton Sewing Collaborative to train Lion’s new employees, said Lisa Burr, director of operations at the manufacturing plant.
Once employees learn the basics of sewing Lion provides additional training onsite.
“For us as a new facility starting up that Dayton Sewing Collaborative partnership has been very impactful,” Burr said “We understand that most folks don’t come with a sewing background.”
About 80 people work at the plant, where hourly pay starts at $15 and employees get health insurance, a 401K, and paid holidays, vacation and sick leave. Employees get raises as they learn new skills.
“We currently have about 20 open manufacturing positions that I would love to get filled,” Burr said. “It’s absolutely growing. I would not be surprised in a year or two if we have double the employees we currently have.”
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