FIND Hiring Locals to Sew PPE to Meet Public Health Recommendations
With the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the White House and others signaling that the general public should wear masks, bandanas or some kind of mouth and nose covering when there is need to go out, FutureInDesign (FIND) located in Price has received new manufacturing contracts to sew personal protective equipment (PPE) for retailers to sell to the general public.
FIND, a non-profit micro-factory creative center focused on workforce training and growing a manufacturing economy in Price, is the creation and passion of its founder, president and CEO Nicholina Womack.
“When all this started, we were sewing everything but PPE,” explained Womack. “With the new CDC recommendation, we’ve pivoted quickly to a couple of specific products and we are underway.”
FIND’s PPE products—a mask and a gaiter— are made of a 97% polyester and 2.5% spandex fabric. They are moisture wicking and can be sewn quickly.
“We have contracts for nearly 100,000 pieces,” noted Womack. “This is significant for us and for the work we do here in Price. As a result, we will need to almost double our workforce. So, we are hiring local people to help meet our quotas.”
Womack and her team located in Price about two years ago because they wanted to help the community diversify its local economy, and she knew the community understood the value of manufacturing.
“Price has suffered a longer recession than the rest of Utah and the country, for that matter. Now, add COVID-19 to the equation and we have a whole new set of challenges. But, there is no other place I would rather be,” said Womack. “The people in Price are dedicated, talented and willing to step-up and do the hard tasks.”
Price City Mayor Michael Kourianos said of FIND, “We have watched this little manufacturing operation take root and grow over the last couple of years. The people they are training and putting to work have greatly helped our community. And now to have FIND hiring people when others businesses are laying people off is a blessing.”
Ramping up a sewing manufacturing in a pandemic is not easy, but it is doable. FIND is working closely with the Southeast Utah Health Department to make sure policies and procedures are followed.
“If you told me two weeks ago that we would be hiring more sewers, I would have laughed or cried,” said Womack. “We are grateful for the opportunity to put people to work now and give them manufacturing skills that they can use even when this pandemic is no longer a part of our lives.”
While FIND meets the immediate need for PPE, Womack and her team believe there is a longer term opportunity. They are busy planning and positioning for a post COVID-19 apparel and soft goods manufacturing world, a world they think will see a renewed emphasis in the small-batch, micro-manufacturing industry.
“To be or not to be, and to make or not to make. That’s where we are. And we have chosen ‘to be’ and we are making it in Price,” declared Womack. “So, look for our label—Made in Price—now and in the future.”
Local individuals who are interested in sewing should go here:
Utah Department of Workforce Services: Job number 2377512, https://jobs.utah.gov
Those interested in purchasing PPE can find it here:
ABOUT FIND https://futureindesign.org
FIND is a non-profit, micro-factory creative center focused on workforce training and on growing a manufacturing economy. FIND provides on-demand, small batch, manufacturing of soft goods and apparel, product development services (design, research, prototyping), and access to equipment, training and professional services. FIND has three main objectives:
Workforce Training and Security for a regional community that has been caught in the wake of a decades-long recession.
Premium Products that are manufactured by individuals who have been recruited from the local population and who have overcome hurdles and obstacles to find new opportunities and to fashion new lives.
Sustainability is a driving force. Forty-percent of all apparel (worldwide) ends up in landfills. FIND’s small-batch, micro-manufacturing business model reduces waste while boosting efficiencies, maintaining product quality and elevating the quality of life for all.