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Construction job fair In Texas attracts hundreds

By Lisa Gibson
A job fair in Nacogdoches, Texas, in search of construction workers for a biomass power plant resulted in about 330 completed job applications and almost as many job interviews, according to Bill King, president and CEO of the Nacogdoches Economic Development Corp.

NEDC held the fair in conjunction with Fagen Inc., which is managing construction of the 100-megawatt Nacogdoches Power LLC plant near Sacul, Texas. About half of the job fair attendees came from Nacogdoches County, King said, the rest traveling from elsewhere. "Job opportunities like this attract people from a pretty good distance," he said. The county has been fortunate in experiencing a fairly lower unemployment rate-about 6.2 percent-than surrounding areas, he added. "Housing and construction have been hit pretty hard by this recession."

During the 2 1/2-year construction period, about 200 to 300 workers will be needed at all times, King said, adding that he expected the job fair to attract about 200 people. Many prospective workers have also filled out online applications on Fagen's Web site (www.fageninc.com). Since the fair was announced, King has seen substantial interest in it and the available positions. "We're getting calls from all over the place," he said.

The plant will occupy 165 acres and will run on about 1 million tons annually of biomass such as forest residue, wood processing residue and clean municipal solid waste from a 75-mile radius, according to Fagen. A 20-year power purchase agreement has been reached with utility Austin Energy, which serves Austin, Texas. The $400 million facility is slated for operation in the summer of 2012.
 

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