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Job fair grows
More than 25 companies to participate
Friday, August 10, 2012
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
The number of businesses in the region that will take part in a job fair next week to help MasterBrand Cabinets employees find work had increased to more than 25 as of Thursday.
That is up from 15 companies confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
Those businesses have at least 150 manufacturing jobs that need to be filled, and the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce still is seeking more participants, said chamber President Amanda Witt.
“We’re trying to engage as many employers as we can” to increase people’s chances of finding new jobs, she said.
MasterBrand, one of the area’s 10 largest employers, said last week that it will close its plant in the Patriot Centre industrial park today, resulting in 335 job losses. The company has blamed the closing largely on a sluggish kitchen cabinet market.
The chamber of commerce will sponsor the job fair, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at the National Guard Armory on Commonwealth Boulevard in Martinsville, Witt said.
She said the fair was organized directly as a result of MasterBrand’s closing. For that reason, it will be open only to the company’s workers from 10 a.m. to noon, she said. It will be open to the public from noon to 2 p.m.
The participating companies, some from as far away as Danville, either think MasterBrand employees have the skills they are seeking or the companies are willing to train the workers to do the jobs, Witt said.
In the next few days, chamber staff members plan to contact more area companies to see if they would like to participate in the job fair, Witt said.
Also participating in the fair are the Virginia Workforce Center, Patrick Henry Community College and the Virginia Employment Commission, she added.
Witt said the chamber, which represents the interests of the local business community, was shocked to learn about MasterBrand’s impending closing.
“Any time you have an industry close, it’s unfortunate,” she said.
However, MasterBrand was active in local work force development efforts, she noted.
It is one of the chamber’s approximately 630 members.
The chamber also is planning a community-wide job fair in September, Witt said.