A forklift operator approaches a crate of material to move it in this May 2018 file photo of construction of The Jackson Laboratory's new mouse vivarium in Ellsworth. Credit: Bill Trotter

The Jackson Laboratory plans to hire 300 more workers and increase its base wages over the next year, it announced.

Of the 300, 35 to 40 people will be hired at the company’s Ellsworth mouse-breeding facility in 2019. Slightly more than 50 work there now, company spokeswoman Sarah Laskowski said.

The rest of the hires “will be made to fill positions on our campus in Bar Harbor,” she said in an email Thursday morning.

Jackson Lab officials announced at the facility’s ribbon-cutting in August 2018 that they plan to bring 350 jobs to Ellsworth and another 135 to Bar Harbor. They said the end of the buildout of the vivarium would occur in 2026, the target date for the completion of the five-phase project, with all the hiring coming by 2028.

Catherine “Katy” Longley, the lab’s chief operating officer, said in February that Jackson Lab had more than 2,000 employees, 1,400 of whom are based in Bar Harbor. Roughly 350 work in Farmington, Connecticut, 370 at its mouse production facility in Sacramento, California, and 40 more at the vivarium in Ellsworth.

Nearly 70 more work remotely, she said.

Also Wednesday, the company announced that its entry-level wage has increased to $15.75 per hour, following the completion of training. The training wage will increase to $15 per hour.

The entry-level wage was $15 per hour in 2016. Prior to that, the lab’s lowest full-time wage for new employees who had passed their initial six-month probation was $10.75 per hour, according to the BDN archives.

The company also said Wednesday that new animal care employees who relocate from a distance of more than 50 miles to work at the Bar Harbor or Ellsworth campuses will receive a $2,500 relocation bonus and a $3,000 bonus after one year on the job.

“Investments in infrastructure and workforce development are critical to the growth and prosperity of Maine communities. We are proud to be able to offer new career, wage, education and training opportunities to potential employees within the state and to attract employees from locations outside Maine,” Longley said in Wednesday’s statement.

Jackson also provides employees with regularly scheduled pay increases with the ability to increase base salary by up to 25 percent in two years, plus educational opportunities in fields including genetics and lab animal science and college tuition reimbursements.

Jackson Lab uses mice to study human disease and illness and breeds specialty strains of mice used in biomedical research around the globe.