STEPHEN HEMELT — Job fair an important step in Golden Triangle Polymers outreach

Published 12:04 am Saturday, July 1, 2023

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Heather Betancourth pulled into the Orange County Convention & Expo Center parking lot at 9:30 a.m. June 24, approximately 30 minutes before a job fair was scheduled to begin.

“As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, I saw the line waiting out the door through the parking lot and cars parked along the highway,” she said.

“It went well. There were four contractor companies there that are working on the project and us as the owner company. I would say every single booth had a line of people waiting to talk to them the entire event.”

Betancourth is the communications lead for Golden Triangle Polymers Company, which has begun construction of a multi-billion dollar Marlex® polyethylene plant in Orange County.

Thousands of construction job and 500 permanent jobs are projected.

That means interest from the community and hope for employment by local and regional residents.

A series of job fairs and business workshops are now planned to connect Orange County residents with these opportunities.

The job fair June 24 was the first major open public outreach since the groundbreaking in March. Another job fair is planned in August.

“All the folks I was talking to were very excited to be (at the job fair) and didn’t seem to mind the wait,” Betancourth said. “They were interested in the jobs we have available and enthusiastic on how to get in on the jobs. The ones who talked to the contractor companies are going to see the fruits of their conversations first. They are hiring the most people right now.”

Bethancourth said the human resource managers at Golden Triangle Polymers have already given her job fair feedback, saying it was well worth their while.

“I have to be honest with you, not every job fair is worth our while. It’s more of a see and be seen kind of event,” she said. “From what I understand from our HR department, they met a lot of solid candidates for our completed facility.”

Golden Triangle Polymers will eventually be looking for people who would operate and maintain the completed facility.

Those positions would be process operators, maintenance technicians and instrumentation workers.

“They usually already have experience in those jobs or a two-year degree in those types of fields,” Betancourth said. “We don’t typically see that type of experience level at these types of job fairs and we did this time.”

Although talked about and planned for years, the presence of Golden Triangle Polymers Company in Orange County is new. Positive impacts are still being measured.

Golden Triangle Polymers donated $200,000 to Orange County to expand the county’s economic development capabilities in assisting local businesses with applying and competing for work on the $8.5 billion facility under construction.

Kristie Young was hired to manage the supplier and vendor portion of a newly created Local First program to support local sourcing for the Golden Triangle Polymers Company.

It’s clear these efforts are real and avenues are being taken to present employment options to local residents.

Time will ultimately tell how much local impact prevails, but the start is impressive to watch.

Stephen Hemelt is the publisher at Orange Newsmedia, which produces the Orange Leader, and Orange Living Magazine. He can be reached at