CHATSWORTH, Calif. -

Glendale-based Nestle USA is closing its Chatsworth Hot Pockets plant and moving the work to its operation in Mount Sterling,  Kentucky, investing $13 million in expanding the facility and hiring 150 workers, it was reported today.

   Production at the Chatsworth facility, which began turning out the snacks in 1988, will end around October. The 360 workers at the facility were given notice last Friday, Nestle spokeswoman Roz O'Hearn said in remarks reported by the Daily News, adding that the fate of the workers and the Nestle-owned 184,000-square-foot production facility is unknown..

   The employees can move into other positions in the area or relocate to Mount Sterling, which is converting to a 24-hour work schedule. Those who cannot find other jobs with the company will be given severance and job placement assistance, she said.

   The Mount Sterling plant opened in 1966 and doubled in size in 1993.  Nestle USA bought the Hot Pockets brand in 2002.

   Economist William W. Roberts, director of the San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center at Cal State Northridge, told the Daily News that it will not be easy to repurpose the facility or replace the jobs. 

   ``There is still a lot of empty space throughout the Valley so it's not like there is a lack of places to buy and build something. I've seen places lie vacant for five or six years,'' he said.