Maryland Governor Larry Hogan had his administration visit the town of Luke on Tuesday to continue providing support to families and workers affected by the Verso Paper Mill closure.
“The locals and state agencies are all working together to try and do everything we need to do,” Maryland Delegate Wendell Beitzel said.
“It’s a huge shock to the economy because that mill has tentacles in our community and impacts more than just the employees. For every job lost at the mill, there are probably three more jobs lost,” he said.
Earlier in May, Hogan announced the administration’s efforts to provide support, resources and seek both state and federal funding and grant options for the affected families.
The cabinet members’ visit allowed representatives to discuss future employment and site usage opportunities.
Secretary of Maryland Department of Commerce, Kelly Schulz, said they’ve been talking with future buyers of the paper mill site, and have close to 12 buyers lined up.
“I think the main message today is that you have an entire group of people that are committed to make sure every life that’s impacted, whether it be in the direct closing of Verso or the other businesses that are coming in, that we’re committed to the community,” Schulz said.
“You have an entire cabinet under Governor Hogan’s leadership along with all the elected officials in the counties that are dedicated to make sure this area of mountain Maryland has all the thriving opportunities as the rest of the state,” she said.
The Luke Paper Mill operated for 131 years. The shutdown means at least 675 people from Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will lose their jobs.
The Verso Corporation said employees were notified that their last day of employment is expected to be June 30.
Eligible employees will receive a severance package.