Wilcox Family Farms will be receiving a $75,000 boost from the state to go towards training its workers in lean enterprise principles and food safety.

The award comes from the Washington State Department of Commerce, in partnership with the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County and nonprofit small business manufacturing consultant Impact Washington. The funds will come from the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund and will be awarded via Work Start, a program designed to help employers in strong Washington industry sectors train their workers.

“As we expand our value-added product lines and add new employees to our workforce, it’s vitally important that they receive training in continuous improvement and food safety,” said Andy Wilcox, director of egg operations.  “We have great employees, and the training funded by the Work Start grant makes them better while enabling us to move forward with our growth plans.”

Roy-based Wilcox Family Farms employs 135 people (with about 15 more positions to be filled) and has grown more than 10 percent annually in recent years.

“Growing and retaining good jobs in rural communities like Roy is critical to strengthening communities,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender.  “Work Start is an invaluable tool that allows us to do that by meeting the workforce needs of employers while investing in the training of the employees.”

“As one of the largest employers in rural Pierce County, Wilcox Farms plays a critical role in that community’s economy by hiring residents into good jobs with good benefits,” said Bruce Kendall, president and CEO of the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County. “The Work Start grant allows the 108-year-old company to remain competitive through the use of modern, organic, and sustainable farming practices.”