Frito-Lay Student Meeting

Richland School students meet with Frito-Lay officials to learn about employment opportunities at Pulaski plant, which is expanding operations and is expected to add nearly 100 new jobs.   Submitted

Frito Lay is expanding their Pulaski operations, and is actively looking to hire local high school graduates to fill many of the nearly 100 new jobs being created.

In early April, students at Giles County and Richland high schools attended informational meetings at their schools hosted by Frito-Lay.  

“During these meetings, seniors, as well as juniors, were presented videos highlighting the work at the Pulaski plant, including testimonials from current employees,” Giles County CTE Director Amy Roberts said. “Frito-Lay did a great job of making the presentations interactive and engaging. The breakout sessions allowed students to ask questions regarding the employment process, as well tuition reimbursement and benefits.”

Frito-Lay is offering entry level, part-time, front-line positions to graduating seniors to be packers and sanitors. The jobs will be primarily second- and third-shift, and starting pay will vary.

“We are expanding upwards of 100 front-line positions, so we tapped in to the high school to try to get talent that way,” Frito-Lay Human Resources representative Eva Kowalinski said.

Roberts plays an active role in developing young talent through the schools’ CTE program. The Giles County CTE program prepares students for the workforce by developing skills in “communication, critical thinking, attitude, teamwork and work ethic,” Roberts explained.

Charlene Russell, the Middle Tennessee regional apprenticeship director, presented a video that told the students that only 21 percent of high school freshmen go on to graduate college within nine years. The other 79 percent of graduates need to have an alternate plan, whether it is the military, trade school or directly into the workforce.

“The message that I hope students heard is this: if they do not plan to go to college and want to join the workforce in a career from which they can retire someday, then this Frito-Lay expansion is a definite possibility for them to do just that,” Roberts added.

In Giles County, fewer than half of graduates go on to college, according to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Jobs at Frito-Lay can become lifelong careers, with retirement benefits and opportunities for training and advancement, which many employees in Pulaski have taken advantage of.

“We have a highly tenured site in Pulaski,” Kowalinski said.

Frito-Lay offers a tuition reimbursement program for employees enrolled in online or in-person accredited degree programs which could prepare them for any job within the PepsiCo/Frito-Lay family of brands.

“As long as we offer a job they want to go in to, we will cover that cost,” Kowalinski added.

“I am excited to add an industry partnership such as the one that we are formulating with Frito-Lay to our existing post-secondary partnerships with Martin Methodist College and TCAT Pulaski,” Roberts concluded.

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