Taylor Farms, long known for its embrace of technology, has opened two centers designed to train employees how to operate processing and packing machinery.
The centers are in Salinas, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., the main production areas for vegetables and leafy greens. Taylor Farms invested more than $1 million in the 4,500-square-foot and 2,200-square foot facilities in Yuma and Salinas, respectively, according to a news release.
The training focuses on programming, engineering and machine operation, and is designed to help advance employees into more advanced roles at the company, according to the release.
While technology has been touted as a labor-saving issue — both at harvest and in packing/processing — Taylor Farms is among the companies that stress robots and other automation need more skilled workers to maintain and operate, and that current employees can advance to those roles.
“Our business is constantly evolving and we are now entering a new era centered around automation,” Mark Borman, chief operating officer of Taylor Farms Foodservice Division, said in the release. “Automated technologies are reframing the traditional, labor intensive role and these training centers are investments in making sure our current employees have the resources to learn and grow along with our company.”
Employees welcome the opportunities the centers represent, according to the release.
“I’ve never had the opportunity for a job like this. I thought everything was done manually,” employee Erika Torres said in the release. “I got to the training facility, saw the robots and couldn’t believe it. I’m very interested in getting this education and advancing with the company. I’m going to take advantage of these opportunities.”