Any job seeker, including myself, can tell you full-time employment is scarce these days. Los Angeles and Orange counties could suffer the nation’s second largest drop in jobs in the coming months. But, if you have the right kind of experience and don’t faint at the sight of blood, or blood plasma, then there soon might be a job waiting for you on a El Sereno hilltop.
That’s where a Spanish biotechnology company called Grifols recently announced plans to spend more than $50 million to build a facility to turn blood plasma into products to treat a wide variety of diseases. When completed in 2013, the Intravenous Immune Globulin plant will employ more than 300 people in addition to the hundreds already working at the existing plant. The new, three-story facility will rise on the same hill where Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and friends used to play around as kids, he told EGP News.
Villaraigosa and other local officials were on hand during a recent ceremony to praise the expansion. “In this severe recession we find ourselves in – it’s safe to say that both as an employer and as a medicine provider, Grifols is changing lives for the better,” said El Sereno Councilman Jose Huizar in a statement.
With the exception of public institutions, it’s unusual to find such a large employer, let alone one involved in the high-tech, biomedical business, on the Eastside. The company’s sleek, metal-skinned offices on Valley Boulevard near the entrance to the 710 freeway stand out on a stretch of recycling centers, gas stations and empty lots. But Girasol tends to keep a low profile, despite being a sizable employer and property owner, claiming 26 acres of property just north of Cal State Los Angeles.
“They own a lot of land up there and have gradually increased their production plant over the past 6 years, pretty much under the radar: no Neighborhood Council Input: no City Council input and no community input,” said Carlos Morales, publisher of The Voice newspaper. “Let’s hope our community can benefit in one way or another.”