October 9, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 9, 2014
Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, cell: 557-1483
Rapid Response team has scheduled sessions, employers coming forward to hire workers
AUGUSTA – The Rapid Response team of the Maine Department of Labor has met with and continues to be in close contact with the management and unions of Verso Paper Corp. in Bucksport, planning and implementing assistance for the more than 500 affected workers.
“The department hit the ground running by taking immediate action to assist during this difficult time,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Our team submitted the TRADE petition to the federal government within 24 hours of learning about the layoff. Assisting these workers and their families is our number one priority as we continue to look for a buyer for the facility.”
Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette stated, “This effort is all about coordination and communication between our Rapid Response staff in Augusta, our CareerCenter in Bangor, the company, the unions, the workers, and community partners. I have been heartened by the outpouring of support from regional employers and organizations that want to connect these workers with new jobs. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you want to help.”
The Rapid Response team met with the union and company officials on Oct. 6. At that meeting, department officials distributed the needs assessment forms, which will be collected and processed over the next two weeks. The needs assessment asks workers to self-disclose information such as skills, certifications, degrees, desired training, as well as veteran status and other details that will aid in identifying the next steps for each affected worker.
As workers complete and return that information, other assistance will be provided. Scheduled events (subject to change) include resume assistance workshops the week of Oct. 13 and Rapid Response Information Sessions on site at Verso during the week of Oct. 20 with both afternoon and evening sessions. A job fair will be held on site on Monday, Oct. 27.
In addition, the 17th Annual Fall Career Fair will be held at the Bangor Mall, 663 Stillwater Ave, Bangor from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 15.
Following these events, additional meetings addressing healthcare options, possible TRADE assistance, workshops and job and resource fairs will be scheduled. A regional transition team is already in place and has been addressing the needs of workers affected by the other recent mill layoffs in the region. They will be meeting on Oct. 14 in response to the Verso situation and will assist in planning and providing additional support and follow up.
“We remind employers that the department’s first place to look for jobs for affected workers is the Maine Job Bank, which had 8,400 jobs listed late Tuesday, an all-time high. We thank all employers who have let us know of their openings and suggest that they post them on the Job Bank at http://www.mainecareercenter.com ,” said Commissioner Paquette. “We want workers to understand the support that is here for them as they make the best decisions for themselves and their families. They do not have to make this transition alone.”
The Bangor CareerCenter will be the point of contact for those affected. The CareerCenter, located at 45 Oak Street, Suite 3, Bangor is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. More information is available on the CareerCenter website, http://www.mainecareercenter.com .
Maine CareerCenters are equal opportunity providers. Auxiliary aids and services are available to individuals with disabilities upon request.