By Tim McNicholas

CHICAGO (CBS) — At a time when many companies are scaling back, a manufacturing plant in Gurnee is expanding and adding dozens of full-time jobs.

CBS 2 is Working for Chicago, committed to finding resources to help you get back on your feet, and Morning Insider Tim McNicholas made the trip to Gurnee to see what the company is all about.

“I lost my job a couple months ago,” said Nico Rodriquez, a production planner for Jabil, a manufacturing company in the far north suburb “The first thing that came to my mind was, ‘Oh this is going to be so difficult because of the pandemic.’ ”

However, he said he wasn’t giving up, saying “I knew there was hope.”

Now he’s a few days into his new job at Jabil as the machines in churn out plastic parts for other companies, some of which will be used in COVID-19 testing kits. Jabil says they’re looking to hire about 90 more full-time workers.

“Anything from an entry level all the way to a senior level position.” said Jabil operations manager Joe Dickerson. Some of those new employees will work in a new section of the Gurnee facility, which is under construction. Once that is complete, the company plans to produce tens of millions of surgical masks., similar to the ones all employees and visitors are required to wear in the building.

“The fact that we’re able to take people like Nico, find the position for him and get them employed. It really means a lot to me and to the company,” said Dickerson.

The Jabil team is already used to sporting protective gear. In one room, for example, everyone–including reporters– needs shoe covers, gowns and hairnets to prevent any contamination as the plastic parts are produced.

Rodriguez says they didn’t have machines like this at his last gig.

“The first thing that came to my mind was, ‘Wow.’ ”

But he’s already getting used to it.

Tim McNicholas