BURLINGTON, N.C. – After dwindling manufacturing over the last few years, textile plants have increased production to keep up with an increased demand for personal protective equipment amidst the pandemic.

"Globally, we've had about a five times increase in the amount of medical fabrics we've been able to produce to support the COVID efforts," said Delores Sides, a spokesperson for Elevate Textiles.

To keep up with the increase in production, companies in the industry like Elevate Textiles are hiring.

Sides said she expects these employment opportunities to last beyond the pandemic.

"This is not seasonal work. It's not temporary work. We continue to have very strong manufacturing and production orders. Right now we are focused on the medical fabrics, but there are many other markets that we serve, including the military and barrier fabrics. We believe there is going to continue to be a need for reusable medical fabrics," Sides said. 

One Elevate Textile employee said her job has new meaning.

"I feel great because I feel like I'm helping someone else, especially in these scary times that we're living in now. I'm glad to be part of this team that's helping in this fight against COVID-19," Janice Leath said.

Elevate Textiles said it is hiring across the state in Burlington, Raeford, and Rockingham.