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2,000 new hires needed for COVID-19 test production

The Portland Press Herald reports a staffing firm is looking to hire up to 2,000 production workers, including for the Abbott Labs facility in Scarborough.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this April 10, 2020, file frame grab from video, a lab technician dips a sample into the Abbott Laboratories ID Now testing machine.

SACO, Maine — As tens of thousands of Mainers remain jobless due to the coronavirus pandemic, production needs associated with COVID-19 testing are bringing new jobs to Maine—2,000 new jobs, to be exact.

Thursday morning, a national staffing firm with offices an office in Saco, sent out a press release announcing the need for 1,000 workers for a Scarborough laboratory. But according to the Portland Press Herald, by the afternoon the firm said the demand had increased to 2,000.

The Press Herald spoke with someone at CoWorx Staffing Services, the New Jersey-based firm, who said the new hires were needed to assist in the production of diagnostic testing kits, including at Abbott Laboratories’ Scarborough facility.

The original press release said workers were needed to fill entry-level production positions; no prior experience necessary. The positions require a high school diploma or general education degree (GED), or equivalent combination of experience and education, as well as English-speaking proficiency.

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“It was not clear whether the demand for 2,000 workers was exclusively at Abbott, or if other firms that do similar diagnostic testing work in southern Maine also are seeking new employees through CoWorx,” the Press Herald reported.

The Abbott Labs' rapid testing kits, which can offer results in minutes got FDA approval in March, got national attention and praise from President Trump. 

Credit: AP
President Donald Trump opens a box containing a 5-minute test for COVID-19 from Abbott Laboratories as Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, March 30, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

RELATED: FDA fast-tracks COVID-19 testing device made in Scarborough

Mills said the State tried to secure some supply of the test kits, but so far has only received a handful of tests. Martin’s Point Health Care, which has mobile coronavirus testing locations in Portland and Brunswick, became the first health care organization in Maine to receive the new rapid COVID-19 tests developed by Abbott Laboratories in April.

RELATED: Maine's first recipient of Abbott Labs' rapid COVID-19 test is Martin's Point Health Care

The federal government bought up most of Abbott Labs' supply of tests and distributed them to states where COVID-19 outbreaks are worse.

The call for workers came on the same day as Gov. Janet Mills’ announcement that the State would be partnering with Maine-based IDEXX Lab, which will triple the State’s testing capacity.

RELATED: State teams with IDEXX to expand coronavirus, COVID-19 testing

RELATED: 'This is a game-changer': Mills announces 'major' expansion for COVID-19 testing

In addition to the expanded capacity on the State level, health care centers across Maine will be receiving nearly $5 million in federal funding to expanding testing capabilities as well.

For those interested in applying for the new positions through CoWorx, the firm encourages applying directly through them at https://www.coworxstaffing.com/nowhiring/ or contact CoWorx Staffing Services at (207) 283-0082 for more information. Video interviews will be conducted where possible to limit office traffic and follow social distancing best practices.

RELATED: Maine awarded nearly $5 million in federal funding to expand COVID-19 testing

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RELATED: Maine Dept. of Labor Commissioner defends handling of unemployment claims

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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