CROSSETT, Ark. (KTVE) — Georgia Pacific is trying to make up for what has been a devastating month for over 500 workers. The plant is hosting a job fair to help over half of its workforce find other employment by October.
“It’s very important for us to do our best to take care of our employees because they are our family,” Georgia Pacific Spokeswoman Jennifer King said. “We did invite a number of companies to come out here because we do have a very skilled workforce and we want them to be employed.”
The job fair has been a project officials have been working on since the announcement of the closure in June. The two day fair is specifically designed to be for employees only.
“We wanted to give them the first shot at finding employment particularly in this area which is what we focused on,” King said.
Companies within a 75-mile radius filled rooms at G.P.’s Learning Center, including Canfor, Southern Pine, El Dorado Packaging, Ingevity, Murphy USA and Lockheed Martin. Many of the plant’s biggest competitors were there too, all hoping to recruit some of GP’s finest workers.
Owen Carpenter is one of the employees that will be affected by the cuts. When he heard the announcement, he was very disappointed.
“It was heartbreaking, you know,” Carpenter said. “I thought I had a career. 13 years, it’s gone.”
All is not lost for these employees, though. Many workers like Carpenter say the job fair gave them much needed hope.
“I’m a lot more hopeful,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of people who were actually interested in me and I didn’t think that was going to be possible.”
The plant offered resume support and interview preparation prior to the fair. Arkansas and Louisiana Workforce Center assisted in those efforts. Employees are very appreciative of how much the plant is making sure they are okay even before the cuts actually happen.
“G.P is not hanging us out there to dry,” Carpenters said. “I feel like they’re doing right by us.”
The fair will also be going on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Officials are working on hosting a community wide job fair for other workers who were also affected by the cuts.