Danvers manufacturer hiring 400 to help with COVID-19 vaccine

Paul Leighton, The Salem News, Beverly, Mass.
·3 min read

Mar. 2—DANVERS — The race to develop COVID-19 vaccines has sparked a hiring boom at one local manufacturing facility, reflecting a wider surge in available manufacturing jobs on the North Shore.

MilliporeSigma is looking to hire 400 people at its Danvers location to keep up with the demand for a product used in the making of the vaccines. The company has expanded to a second building at the Cherry Hill office park and says it is creating 400 jobs to fill all of its shifts.

"The need for our product was already high and it got higher," said William Faria, the head of operations at the Danvers facility.

MilliporeSigma is a global company that makes life science tools and equipment for the pharmaceutical industry. Its facilities on Cherry Hill Drive in Danvers manufacture a product called "single-use assemblies" that help to streamline the process of making vaccines and medications.

Karen Tiano, a spokeswoman for the company, said she could not name the companies that have contracted with MilliporeSigma for more single-use assemblies, but added, "Whoever's making COVID-19 vaccines is highly likely using our product."

The hiring at MilliporeSigma is the largest example of an overall rebound in manufacturing jobs on the North Shore, according to Mary Sarris, executive director of the North Shore Workforce Board. Some of it is related to pandemic needs like personal protective equipment, but not all, she said.

Sarris said manufacturers were hiring before the pandemic due to a large number of retirements in the industry, which she said has the oldest workers in the area because it went so long without hiring new people.

"In February of 2020 there was demand like you wouldn't believe for manufacturing workers," Sarris said. "Now it's beginning to come back to that point. They have a lot to do. There's a lot of manufacturing going on in the world."

Sarris said manufacturers had to furlough workers at the start of the pandemic, but have learned how to reopen their production floors under safe social-distancing practices.

"They kind of shut down and came back pretty quickly," she said.

Faria said MilliporeSigma is hiring for a wide range of positions, including in operations, management, engineering and office jobs. Both permanent and temporary positions are available. The pay is $14.25 per hour for entry level positions and a "wide range" of salaries for other jobs, he said.

The Danvers facilities employ about 750 people now. The new hires will increase the workforce to 1,100 or 1,200.

Faria said MilliporeSigma shut down for about a week when the pandemic started but has been operating ever since. In some ways the facility was already prepared for the pandemic because employees wear protective equipment due to the chemicals involved in the manufacturing process.

"They're in a controlled environment," Faria said.

Faria said it's been a challenge to hire and train so many new people while keeping everyone safe during the pandemic. But he said workers are glad to be playing a role in the crucial development of COVID-19 vaccines.

"It's a good thing to rally around," he said.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535, by email at pleighton@salemnews.com, or on Twitter at @heardinbeverly.