Businesses explore job potential serving Thomson prison

Local businesses are learning how to grow new jobs when the Thomson Correctional Center finally opens as a federal prison.

There’s potential to create more than 1,000 new jobs. The prison’s recent sale to the feds offers new hope after sitting vacant for more than a decade.

“The services that they’re going to need is numerous,” said Tim Determan, Pinney Printing. “We’re excited just to be one of those service providers.”

That’s why Determan attended a special workshop in Savanna on Monday. His Sterling-based business, which employs 25, could grow even more new jobs if it gets a government contract for work at the prison.

“I think it will create a ton of new jobs for this area, which we definitely can use,” he said.

There’s still no timeline for when the federal prison will open. But businesses need to prepare now for contract work.

“Don’t want until the last minute and think you’re going to be able to receive a contract from any government agencies,” said Betty Steinert, economic development administrator for Whiteside County.

Black Hawk College and Iowa State Extension hosted the workshop. They’ll likely hold follow-up meetings early next year.

For Pinney Printing, Monday’s session could make a big difference for landing contract work at the prison. It’s growing jobs for a region that’s ready for the opportunity.

The feds will eventually contract with businesses. Local providers want a piece of that pie.

“We’ve been talking about this for several years now,” Determan said. “I think we’re in the right direction getting the doors opened there.”

For businesses like Pinney Printing, there’s still plenty of potential at the prison.

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